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Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language

                            CHAPTER 421-S.F.No. 2615 
                  An act relating to public health; child protection; 
                  providing procedures for leaving an unharmed newborn 
                  at a hospital with a hospital employee; providing for 
                  certain reporting; providing immunity from liability 
                  for hospitals and their personnel for receiving a 
                  newborn; modifying certain social service agency 
                  duties; providing immunity from prosecution for 
                  leaving an unharmed newborn at a hospital; proposing 
                  coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapters 
                  145; 260C; and 609. 
        BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
           Section 1.  [145.902] [SAFE PLACE FOR NEWBORNS; HOSPITAL 
        DUTIES AND IMMUNITY FROM LIABILITY.] 
           Subdivision 1.  [GENERAL.] (a) A hospital licensed under 
        sections 144.50 to 144.56 shall receive a newborn left with a 
        hospital employee on the hospital premises, provided that: 
           (1) the newborn was born within 72 hours of being left at 
        the hospital, as determined within a reasonable degree of 
        medical certainty; and 
           (2) the newborn is left in an unharmed condition. 
           (b) The hospital must not inquire as to the identity of the 
        mother or the person leaving the newborn or call the police, 
        provided the newborn is unharmed when presented to the hospital. 
        The hospital may ask the mother or the person leaving the 
        newborn about the medical history of the mother or newborn but 
        the mother or the person leaving the newborn is not required to 
        provide any information.  The hospital may provide the mother or 
        the person leaving the newborn with information about how to 
        contact relevant social service agencies. 
           Subd. 2.  [REPORTING.] Within 24 hours of receiving a 
        newborn under this section, the hospital must inform the local 
        welfare agency that a newborn has been left at the hospital, but 
        must not do so before the mother or the person leaving the 
        newborn leaves the hospital. 
           Subd. 3.  [IMMUNITY.] (a) A hospital with responsibility 
        for performing duties under this section, and any employee, 
        doctor, or other medical professional working at the hospital, 
        are immune from any criminal liability that otherwise might 
        result from their actions, if they are acting in good faith in 
        receiving a newborn, and are immune from any civil liability 
        that otherwise might result from merely receiving a newborn. 
           (b) A hospital performing duties under this section, or an 
        employee, doctor, or other medical professional working at the 
        hospital who is a mandated reporter under section 626.556, is 
        immune from any criminal or civil liability that otherwise might 
        result from the failure to make a report under that section if 
        the person is acting in good faith in complying with this 
        section. 
           Sec. 2.  [260C.217] [SAFE PLACE FOR NEWBORNS.] 
           Subdivision 1.  [DUTY TO ATTEMPT REUNIFICATION, DUTY TO 
        SEARCH FOR RELATIVES, AND PREFERENCES NOT APPLICABLE.] A local 
        social service agency taking custody of a child after discharge 
        from a hospital that received a child under section 145.902 is 
        not required to attempt to reunify the child with the child's 
        parents.  Additionally, the agency is not required to search for 
        relatives of the child as a placement or permanency option under 
        section 260C.212, subdivision 5, or to implement other placement 
        requirements that give a preference to relatives if the agency 
        does not have information as to the identity of the child, the 
        child's mother, or the child's father. 
           Subd. 2.  [STATUS OF CHILD.] For purposes of proceedings 
        under this chapter and adoption proceedings, a newborn left at a 
        hospital under section 145.902 is considered an abandoned child. 
           Sec. 3.  [609.3785] [UNHARMED NEWBORNS LEFT AT HOSPITALS; 
        AVOIDANCE OF PROSECUTION.] 
           A person may leave a newborn with a hospital employee at a 
        hospital in this state without being subjected to prosecution 
        for that act, provided that: 
           (1) the newborn was born within 72 hours of being left at 
        the hospital, as determined within a reasonable degree of 
        medical certainty; 
           (2) the newborn is left in an unharmed condition; and 
           (3) in cases where the person leaving the newborn is not 
        the newborn's mother, the person has the mother's approval to do 
        so. 
           Sec. 4.  [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 
           This act is effective the day following final enactment. 
           Presented to the governor April 14, 2000 
           Signed by the governor April 18, 2000, 10:36 a.m.