Page last updated at 21:52 GMT, Friday, 21 November 2008

Nebraska restricts safe-haven law

Anti-child abandonment protesters in Nebraska
The controversial law sparked protests in Nebraska

The governor of the US state of Nebraska has signed a bill curbing its controversial "safe-haven" law allowing the abandonment of unwanted children.

The new law puts a 30-day age limit on the provision permitting children to be legally abandoned at hospitals.

The previous law approved in July set no age limit and had seen more than 30 children - some as old as 17 - dumped at hospitals.

Governor Dave Heineman had urged the state legislature to revise the law.

Legislators voted for the change by 43 votes to five.

The law passed in July was intended to prevent vulnerable parents abandoning newborn babies in potentially dangerous situations.

But analysts say Nebraska was embarrassed by the way the law had been used.

On one day in September, 11 children, some from the same family, were abandoned at one hospital.

Nebraska was one of the last states to introduce a safe-haven law.

All others limit abandonment to infants. Only the District of Columbia is without such a law.

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