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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 NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479897926.001.0001

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The Work of Saving Babies’ Lives and Souls

The Work of Saving Babies’ Lives and Souls

(p.47) 1 The Work of Saving Babies’ Lives and Souls
Giving Up Baby

Laury Oaks

NYU Press

This chapter examines how and why infant abandonment has led to individual, regional, and national initiatives to save babies' lives. It considers several narratives of social responsibility that are embedded within infant abandonment prevention discourses and used by some activists in their campaign to urge women to safely relinquish unwanted newborns so that they could be placed in loving adoptive families, and why some activists gather together to honor dead abandoned infants and use the religious notion of saving their souls. It also discusses infant abandonment prevention in relation to antiabortion philosophies and aims, and the view that pregnant women who may unsafely abandon their babies represent a threat to individual infants as well as to the meaning of motherhood. Finally, it describes similarities in the language, strategies, and philosophies used by safe haven advocacy organizations and crisis pregnancy centers to reach individual pregnant women, including teenagers.

Keywords:   infant abandonment, social responsibility, unwanted newborns, antiabortion, pregnant women, motherhood, safe haven, advocacy organizations, crisis pregnancy centers, teenagers

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