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Published: Tuesday, 3/25/2003

Cinemas to show Safe Haven ads

The corporate owner of several Toledo cinemas has agreed to allow ads promoting Ohio's Safe Haven law before local movie showings, company officials said yesterday.

A local task force had requested theater owners display the information about the law, which allows young parents to surrender unwanted newborns to authorities without reprisal, but had not gotten an answer, said Lucas County Prosecutor Julia Bates, who organized the group.

“This is very good. This is what we wanted. What this means is that young women and young men who may be the beneficiaries of this program may be able to get information that is crucial for them to have,” she said. “I think it's wonderful.”

Jennifer Hanson, spokesman for National Amusements, Inc., said the company had approved a draft of the slide to be shown on some of its 44 screens in five Toledo theaters. The ad will be on Toledo screens within weeks, Ms. Hanson said.

The Safe Haven law, enacted nearly two years ago, allows parents of newborns to surrender their unharmed infants to hospital and emergency workers without prosecution.

As part of its own campaign to let people know about the law, Mrs. Bates' group sought out teenagers for focus groups.

They recommended using advertising at malls, movie theaters, and schools as the best ways to reach young people who might most benefit from the Safe Haven program.

Mrs. Bates said though she's happy the cinema ads will begin soon, more work remains to be done to inform the community about the program.

“It's not just teenage women” who abandon their babies, she said.

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