For the third year running California Governor Arnold Schwarznegger has vetoed a bill that would expand the age at which babies can be legally dumped under the state’s “Safe Surrender” law. AB 2262 would have extended the age from from 3 to 7 days.

Here is the governor’s veto message

VETOED DATE: 09/30/2008

To the Members of the California General Assembly:

I am returning Assembly Bill 2262 without my signature.

I have vetoed similar measures twice before and there is no new data or information to support a change in my position. California’s Safe Surrender Law is carefully crafted to provide an emergency alternative to a woman in crisis while also preserving the fundamental rights of the child.

For this reason, I am unable to support this bill.


Arnold Schwarznegger

The bill was opposed by veteran “safe haven’ leader and promoter LA County Supervisor Don Knabe. I haven’t found a statement from him regarding the new veto, but in his May 2008 “monthly message” he wrote:

Unfortunately, for the third consecutive year, the success of Safe Surrender is again threatened. Right now in Sacramento, lawmakers in the California State Assembly are debating a Bill that would do far more harm than good to Safe Surrender. Assembly Bill 2262 (AB 2262) would change the time to anonymously surrender a newborn from 72 hours to one week.

It is the same Bill, authored by the same Legislator, which has been successfully defeated the last two times it was proposed. Key to those defeats was vetoes by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006 and again in 2007.

When he issued his original veto, the Governor expressed a concern that is still true about the current version of this Legislation: extending the Safe Surrender time period is a dangerous move. Research shows newborns are at the greatest homicide risk during the first day of life. The Emergency Pediatric Care Journal reported that 83 percent of all newborn deaths occur shortly after birth. There is absolutely no scientific evidence that extending the surrender window to one week will provide additional benefits to newborns.

An extension from 72 hours to one week could also lead to serious medical issues for these newborns. Access to quality medical care in the first hours of life is an absolutely critical component of the Safe Surrender Program and it will be placed in jeopardy if this new version of the same old Legislation passes. That is a risk we simply cannot afford.

So how can you help? Join me in my fight against Assembly Bill 2262. Contact your legislators and tell them to oppose it. Tell them there are ways to improve Safe Surrender by providing funding for outreach and education programs rather than trying to cast a wider net by moving the 72 hours up to one week. Tell lawmakers it is worth fighting for – we need look no further than the 67 children that are alive today in Los Angeles County for proof that this program is working.

AB 2262’s sponsor Alberto Beats-His-Head-in-a-Brick-Wall Torrico, pulled out all the stops denouncing Schwartznegger’s decision in almost conspiratorial terms:

The Governor’s decision to veto AB 2262 guarantees that the program will continue to languish on the vine and that newborns lives will be at risk…

With a simple extension to seven days, my bil would have given mothers more time to deliberate and possibly reduce the likelihood that they will act impulsively in a manner that endangers their child’s life…

and the tantalizing close:

My bill addressed the serious problem with this program, including misclassifications, disclosure of sensitive data and other improper actions.

Do tell, Alberto!

California needs to repeal it’s baby dump law. Nonetheless, Schwarznegger has the good sense to see the danger in expanding the law.

California: At least it’s not Nebraska!


For more on expansion opposition from “safe haven” promoters, read my California Lesson: Why Safe Haven Proponents Opppose Safe Haven Expansion Times


  1. I didn’t like the decision he made a couple of years ago to give shelter cats and kittens less time to live-it was three days I think after they got there they would only have to be adopted or they would be put down(or maybe it was five), due to new laws he approved. He had reduced the time they got to be saved, but I am glad at least that he did the right thing pertaining to Safe Haven Laws. Now, if he will just go back and help baby animals too…

  2. LA County has long-standing opposition to expanding the baby dump time-frame and I don’t see that changing until Don Knabe leaves. Of course, that’s the irony. Knabe is one of the biggest SH supporters you’ll ever find. He’s a true believer, but he also holds the line to the original purpose. Poor Don. He didn’t understand the real agenda behind the original movement (which has since been lost and taken on a life of its own.) I doubt if SH pimps know their own history at this point.

    What’s alarming is that the general public is now sold on this scam as a baybee saver. Rank and file comments on the Nebraska situation show that the majority of people think it’s OK to dump a kid at any age for his/her own good.

    I don’t think anybody wil change Schwarznegger’s mind.

  3. There is not one piece of evidence to prove that any baby has been “saved” by legalized baby dumping. What we see instead is a lot of babies being SH’d who would have been either kept with assistance or relinquished the normal way. Babies are still being abandoned and killed by the bushel by women in pregnancy denial, or suffering from untreated mental illness, substance abuse–or just plain evil.

    The original intent of legalized baby dumping was to get around adoptee rights, fathers rights, and ICWA. Now, it’s taken on a life of its own.

  4. Backing up what Marley said, I am all in favor of saving babies from being killed by their mentally disturbed mothers, and if someone found a way to actually reach those in such denial of the pregnancy that they would kill the child when born, I would support that. I suspect it would involve identifying them and intervening before they give birth.

    There is no evidence that Safe Havens have saved one child that would otherwise have been killed. Women who have used safe havens are not the same women who would throw a baby in a dumpster or toilet. They are women who would otherwise have used legal, traditional adoption surrender, or would have kept and raised their children once the shock wore off and they got some help.

    Safe Havens do not save lives; what they do is cause more problems in lives of scared pregnant women, and even endanger lives by suggesting you can hide the pregnancy, deliver alone, and forgo medical care. They also wipe out any background heritage for the child who is abandoned.

    There are other, saner alternatives than abandonment at a Safe Haven or a dumpster, and that is what needs to be publicized.

  5. “With a simple extension to seven days, my bil would have given mothers more time to deliberate and possibly reduce the likelihood that they will act impulsively in a manner that endangers their child’s life…”

    ROFLMAO. Right. Because women who impulsively throw newborns in trash cans also SIMULTANEOUSLY deliberate about their actions.

    Can someone please explain how a person can be both impulsive and deliberative at the exact same moment?


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