Safe Surrender for Infants law never used

A 2008 Alaska law that lets parents surrender newborn children at places like hospitals and fire stations, no questions asked, has never been used.

The law has  gained renewed attention with the arrest of Spc. Ashley Ard, who faces second-degree murder charges after Anchorage police say she left her baby at an Eagle River park, about a mile from a fire station.

Children’s Services Director Christy Lawton  says the Safe Surrender For Infants Act was meant to offer desperate mothers a way out.  It allows parents to bring newborns to hospitals, fire stations, emergency medical providers or police up to 21 days after birth.

Ard on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to the charges.  She appeared in Anchorage Superior Court to enter the plea.

The 24-year-old soldier is married and recently moved to Alaska.  Little is publicly known about her circumstances.

Anchorage police allege Ard gave birth at her residence in Eagle River and left the home with the newborn just before 1 a.m. on Oct. 15, leaving the baby under a bush in Turner Park.  Police say a man walking his dog found the newborn several hours later.

Ard was indicted by a grand jury on Friday (Oct. 25) and arrested later that day.

The Portsmouth, Va., woman is being held on $250,000 bond.

After the Tuesday hearing, her attorney, Rex Butler, said the public should withhold judgment until they see all of the facts.