House Bill Extends Oregon’s Safe Haven timeline

Written by Trevor Lane, ORTL communications manager

Did you know that Oregon has a safe surrender or “safe haven” law for infants, just like every other state in the country? In Oregon, a mother can legally surrender a newborn to the protection and care of the state for any reason whatsoever.

It’s okay if you didn’t know about our safe haven law. In fact, very few people know about it. And because few people know about it, it is rarely used.

In the 2023 legislative session, Representative Jami Cate introduced House Bill 3626 to solve that problem. HB 3626 extended the safe surrender period to 60 days and also raised awareness of Oregon’s law. This move is so that mothers know the available options and can choose life for their child. 

Many mothers face immense pressure and fear during and after pregnancy, but sometimes they make the incredibly tough decision that they’re not able to parent their child. If they don’t know about Oregon’s safe surrender law, they may see abortion as the only option.

HB 3626 requires locations where women can surrender an infant to post clear information about the law. That includes places like hospitals, birthing centers, fire stations and physician’s offices — places a pregnant woman is more likely to visit before giving birth. Additionally, by extending the surrender period, new mothers will have more time to consider their options. 

“We’re very pleased that Representative Cate, whom we successfully endorsed last election as a strong pro-life candidate, introduced this bill,” says Lois Anderson, Oregon Right to Life’s executive director. “HB 3626 is a commonsense measure that will give mothers in crisis a longer time to make a life-affirming decision for their newborn, should they need that option.” 

With HB 3626, more women will know that safe surrender is available, and they will know where they can safely drop off a newborn. The result of House Bill 3626 will be many young lives saved.


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