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Health Officials: "Unintended Pregnancy" Options Available

May 1, 2007


Half of all pregnancies in Minnesota are unintended, according to state statistics. Pregnancy counselor Valerie Romanoski says, in view of the high-profile deaths of several newborns recently in Minnesota, it's important that women know about an important state resource.

“There is the 'Safe Haven Law,' where women are able to go to a hospital emergency room within 72 hours of birth. As long as their baby is healthy, they can leave their baby at the hospital, no questions asked, and walk away.”

Another choice is temporary foster care. Romanoski emphasizes that, in unintended pregnancies, there are live-saving options. Romanoski says it can be a traumatic situation for women, but help is available.

“Any time there's an unintended pregnancy, it is a shock. They're scared. They're uncertain as to what to do. They may be ashamed of their situation and not sure even where to turn to get assistance.”

A desparate situation can mean desparate measures. Last month, a Washington County judge set a million dollar bail for a 17-year-old accused of stabbing her newborn 135 times and dumping the body in a garbage can.

For Romanowski, it is a vital matter of education. She wants women with unintended pregnancies, whatever their age, to know they have options. She adds that they need people to confide in.

“Anytime that a women is faced with an unplanned pregnancy, she needs to talk to somebody she can trust and feel safe with, someone she won't be judged by. So, anybody that would fit in those categories for her, which could be friends, friends' parents, or hopefully, her own parents, school counselors, teachers, or clergy. Doctors, nurses, any number of people are individuals that can help in those type of situations. They can help sort out some initial fears, some initial options to where she may want to turn, and make some good referrals to places that may be able to help her in the long run.

Help is available statewide by phone at 888-205-3769, or online at www.lssmn.org/pregnancy.

Jim Wishner/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - MN