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When Grey’s Anatomy Season 16 left off for the mid-season finale, viewers watched Jo Wilson (Camilla Luddington) take home a newborn baby. Grey’s Anatomy recently posted a photo of the events on Instagram spurring discussion among fans about whether Jo will face jail time. Was it legal to take the baby home as a Safe Haven Volunteer? Let’s take a look.  

Camilla Luddington and Jason George
Camilla Luddington and Jason George | Kelsey McNeal via Getty Images

How did Jo Wilson end up with a newborn baby on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’?

In the mid-season finale of Grey’s Anatomy Season 16, Jo Wilson volunteers for the Baby Safe Haven program. She is inspired to help babies who are abandoned at fire stations like she was as a newborn. 

Jo receives her first call as a volunteer and heads to the Station 19 (the spin-off show) firehouse. She holds the three-day-old baby, and she cannot imagine how someone could abandon their baby like this. Ben (Jason George) talks her through it.

However, instead of taking the baby to the hospital to give to the social worker, we find out that Jo took the baby home.

“It was, in fact, too much too soon,” she tells long-time friend, Link (Chris Carmack) when he shows up at her apartment. Fans are left wondering if she is going to keep the baby and if what she did is legal.

Fans debate whether or not Jo is going to face trouble with the authorities for taking the baby

After the events of the mid-season finale wrapped up, fans have so many questions. They want to know if Jo and Alex are going to adopt this baby. Some viewers believe Jo is in danger of going to jail for taking the baby home. 

“Technically, she is kidnapping the child from the custody of the state of Washington when she deliberately failed to turn him into the receiving authority,” wrote one Instagram user. She’s going to be in big trouble if she doesn’t hand him over immediately.”

Several fans agree that she could face jail time. Then there are a few viewers who believe she is still just doing her job as a Safe Haven volunteer.

“[Jo] didn’t kidnap the baby,” argued another fan. “She spoke to Ben and the others at Station 19. They definitely knew. She was panicked because of the magnitude of what she took on, as in the job to care for a baby, and [Jo] didn’t tell Karen about it before doing it, but she did nothing illegal.”

What are the laws regarding the Safe Haven Program?

“In 1999, an overwhelming number of infant abandonments took place,” according to Baby Safe Haven. “Never before in a single year had so many mothers decided that they couldn’t care for their children—and then disposed of their newborn infants in an unsafe and tragic way.”

“In response, a group of dedicated people worked together to create a law that would guarantee no mother ever had to secretly dispose of her newborn infant,” the website continues. “This law would protect the mother and assure her that she would not be prosecuted for relinquishing her baby. So long as the baby was safe and given to a responsible adult at a designated location, the mother would be free to go anonymously.”

There are laws in place to protect the mothers of the infants that leave their newborns at designated safe areas. 

“A hospital or fire station, its employees, volunteers, and medical staff are immune from any criminal or civil liability for accepting or receiving a newborn under this section,” according to the Washington Safe Haven Law

The laws in place to protect mothers also protect those volunteers, so we can conclude that Jo will not be facing any jail time or trouble with the authorities. We will find out when Grey’s Anatomy returns on Jan. 23, 2020, whether she plans to follow through on adopting the baby with Alex (Justin Chambers).