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Giving Up BabySafe Haven Laws, Motherhood, and Reproductive Justice$
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Laury Oaks

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781479897926

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479897926.001.0001

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date: 14 December 2017

Introduction

Introduction

Safe Haven Laws Are Not Only About Saving Babies

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Giving Up Baby
Author(s):

Laury Oaks

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479897926.003.0001

This book explores the social politics of legal infant abandonment in advocacy and media discourses surrounding safe haven laws, which allow a parent to relinquish a newborn legally and anonymously at a specified institutional location such as a hospital or fire station. More specifically, it considers the social constructions of motherhood perpetuated by safe haven advocates as well as the social injustices that compel infant abandonment. Using a feminist framework, the book offers insights into the contested nature of what defines good and bad motherhood and examines the issues that surround unsafe infant abandonment from a reproductive justice perspective, with particular emphasis on abortion and adoption politics. This introduction discusses critical perspectives on why we do not need safe haven laws, the cultural components of wanted and unwanted motherhood, and assumptions about maternal love, infant abandonment, adoption, and infanticide. It also provides an overview of the chapters in this book.

Keywords:   social politics, infant abandonment, safe haven laws, motherhood, social injustice, reproductive justice, abortion, adoption, maternal love, infanticide

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