The state of Indiana is considering installing “baby boxes” at multiple locations in a desperate bid to save the lives of abandoned newborn babies and infants.
A bill which was unanimously passed by the Indiana House proposes to set up emergency-monitored “baby boxes” that are technically incubator-like stations at select locations to offer mothers another route to safely and confidentially give away unwanted babies. Supposedly a first-of-its-kind technique in the United States, the baby box legislation is the result of past instances in which babies were found recklessly abandoned in wooded areas, garbage dumpsters, and even toilets.
The bill hopes to stave off any instances of infanticide that may result from an unwanted newborn. The bill is part of Indiana’s Safe Haven law, which legally permits parents to give up their newborn babies at specific locations, such as hospitals and fire stations, without prosecution – as long as the baby is unharmed.
On the outside, the “baby box” resembles an oversized bread-basket, but the inside is a testament to the state of Indiana’s desire to protect the babies during the critical time. Indiana officials hope to deploy the baby boxes at hospitals, fire stations, churches, and select nonprofit organizations that can care for the abandoned baby until it is transferred to the state, said Republican state Rep. Casey Cox, sponsor of the legislation.
“It’s probably not easy for a troubled young mother to come face to face with a police officer and hand that child over, unfortunately, making it too attractive for them to take some tragic course.”
The concept of a baby box isn’t new, assured Cox. The bill merely stems from the deep history of baby boxes throughout the world that were traditionally established outside convents and the like. These modern baby boxes, which would be equipped with the necessary paraphernalia to keep the baby safe, “will help those children that are left in the woods, those children that are abandoned in dangerous places,” added Cox.
Since it came into existence in 1999, the Safe Haven law has to date safely brought in 2,800 babies who were lawfully surrendered. Despite the provision, officials continue to discover babies abandoned in dangerous locations. As per official records, about 1,400 infants have been found abandoned inappropriately, resulting in more than 900 deaths.
Given the support, the bill could soon become law, thereby offering mothers more places and choices to give up their babies and ensure they get a decent chance at life.
[Image Credit | Safe Heaven Baby Boxes, Michael Conroy/AP]