On April 5, 2002 the first baby dropped off under the Illinois Newborn Protection Act was brought to Rockford Memorial Hospital. The healthy baby boy was adopted and will soon celebrate his third birthday.
The act allows parents to drop off a baby up to three days old at a hospital, police or fire station without being prosecuted, but that could soon change because of a sunset clause that was written into the act.
The clause allows the act to expire on July 1, 2007.
Lisa Tomasino, Executive Director of the Carrie Lynn Children’s Center, says clauses are often added to controversial legislation to make sure the act actually helps children and works.
To make the law permanent two pieces of legislation have been written to remove the clause. One was passed in the House this week and now heads to the Senate on Wednesday.
Local Senators Brad Burzynski and Dave Syverson tell 23 News they expect the Senate will vote overwhelmingly in support of the bill.
Nancy Gaziano, who supports the act, says it’s well funded and saves taxpayers money because manpower isn’t used to hunt down parents, and parents don’t spend any time in jail.
The act has already saved the lives of three babies in the stateline, but infants are still being abandoned. In December, baby Crystal was found in a plastic bag near Yalebridge Road in Rockton, but evidence shows that with increased awareness of the act, more babies’ lives will be saved.