Sometimes when I’m out on the bicycle in traffic, I see things I have to file away to think about later. One of those things has been NJ Transit bus signs in English and Spanish asking women not to abandon their babies.
Last night, I looked up the New Jersey Safe Haven Infant Protection Act site because I was curious about how big a problem abandoned babies might be in the state that has certainly seen highly publicized abandoned baby disasters.
Yeah. That happened here in New Jersey. Twice. In general, though, an abandoned baby anywhere is not the kind of news that penetrates my carefully-constructed cocoon of self-absorption, so this morning, I called the number for further information and asked for just that. Seriously: how big a problem is this? Does it happen every year or just often enough to drive Seth MacFarlane tastelessly up a wall? The woman answering the phone directed me to a series of statistics pages.
Well then. This is certainly a different problem than I imagined. Every year for the last ten, at least four babies have been abandoned in the state, at least one in unsafe circumstances, though the chart does not describe those circumstances or the outcomes. As much as I would like to let the rational mind handle thinking about this matter, I can’t get past knowing what it feels like to have a baby you can’t take care of and not knowing what to do. These numbers hint at a lot of suffering and, strangely in my opinion, that news of Safe Haven protections hasn’t reached everyone. The agencies involved are asking for help.