Local News

State Has Baby Abandonment Law On Books

Posted July 18, 2002 10:57 a.m. EDT

— Authorities hope to get the word out about a law meant to save children's lives.

Last week, Sophia Whitley was charged with murder for allegedly killing her newborn baby, but lawmakers said her case did not have to end up in criminal court.

There is a year-old state law that allows women to surrender their newborns to authorities without the fear of prosecution. The problem is, officials say, few people know about it.

"It would be more effective in preventing situations like those in Macon and Harnett counties if people knew about the law," said Tom Bennett of the Child Fatality Task Force.

Whitley is being held in the Harnett County Jail. She is scheduled to be back in court Tuesday.

Forty-six states have either passed or are considering baby abandonment bills. Missouri, Nebraska, Vermont and Wyoming have not discussed allowing people to legally abandon their babies.