Legislature expands locations babies can be legally abandoned

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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s Legislature has unanimously approved a bipartisan bill that expands the locations where a parent unable to care for a baby can leave the child.

Senators approved the House bill on Friday. It now goes to Gov. Doug Burgum.

Under current law, it’s illegal to abandon a baby under the age of 1 unless it happens at a hospital. A parent of the infant or a person given consent by the parent may leave an unharmed infant at a hospital without fear of prosecution.

The measure expands the locations, such as at a police station or a social services office. The child must be left with someone on duty.

State officials have pushed changes to the current law because many rural communities don’t have hospitals and they worry about infants literally being left out in the cold.

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