• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments


19-year old Alison Lesch of Auburn faces a preliminary charge of attempted murder for putting her hours-old newborn daugher in a garbage bag and leaving her in a Dumpster. It is being suggested that she could have avoided the whole unpleasantness of being arrested if she had just been thinking clearly:

Use of the Indiana Safe Haven Law could have prevented this entire situation. The Safe Haven Law allows a parent to surrender their newborn child to an emergency medical services provider, no questions asked. The parent's identity is protected, and he or she will not be prosecuted under the Safe Haven Law for abandonment or neglect if he or she acts within 45 days of the birth, and the child is not harmed.

But this is one of those cases where the good intentions of the law don't seem to help much. The people most in need of it are the least likely to even know about it, so a strong public relations campaign to get the word out seems to be needed. But might not getting the word out encourage exactly the kind of irresponsbility society wants to avoid? That possibility is raised in a 2003 report from the National Conference of State Legislatures, which also said that such laws, enacted in all but five states by then, seemed to have had a limited effect. And:

Many policymakers are concerned that these laws may only encourage parental irresponsibility. Since so little is known about the women who abandon their babies, there is no proof that the legislation will discourage mothers from leaving their infants in unsafe places. For women who might otherwise seek help from family, friends and social service agencies, the enactment of safe haven laws might encourage them to anonymously abandon their newborns rather than take advantage of their traditional network of support.

That seems like a reasonable worry. That "traditional network of support" has been eroding, and everything we do to make up for its lack can just end up accelerating the process.

Is attempted murder the right charge, by the way? That would seem to require intent, which probably wasn't present here. How about neglect and abuse or reckless endangerment?


tim zank
Tue, 11/10/2009 - 10:51am

I think this scenario is probably covered somewhere in the Pelosi-Care Bill as a later term "woman's right to choose". Hell there's probably a provision to get the dumpster company reimbursed for the pick up charge through Health & Human Services.

We could ask our legislators if they read that in the bill, oh wait...never mind.....

Kevin Knuth
Tue, 11/10/2009 - 11:33am

Leo- the whole situation is tragic- BUT- it has a good outcome- this baby will have, hopefully, a home very soon!

Tim- so you admit the GOP is criticizing the health care bill even though they never read it?

Bob G.
Tue, 11/10/2009 - 12:33pm

Yeah, I think CRIMINAL neglect & definitely reckless endangermnet are good calls.
And she's gonna need a serious psych eval.

This young woman obviously isn't in her right mind...and that's sad to see.

tim zank
Tue, 11/10/2009 - 6:52pm

None of them read the bill on either side. Nancy & Barry forgot about that 5 days on the internet "sunlight" promise...along with a couple hundred other ones of course.

That transparency thing is a tough one when you don't want anyone to know what you're really doing to them.

Tue, 11/10/2009 - 8:33pm

Tim, since I gather that you, like pretty much everyone else, haven't read the proposed health care bill, why do you seem to know so much about it?
One thing that has been covered by the media is that the House version (Pelosi-care, to use your pejorative) which recently passed, is that it contains an absolute ban on government-paid abortions.
Your hatred of Speaker Pelosi seems personal, almost pathological. Did she do something terrible to you?
Really, I care. Have some tea, Tim. It'll be OK.