The idea of abandoning a newborn baby is unimaginable for most people, but the unfortunate reality is that some parents believe it's their only option.
First passed in 2000, the Indiana Safe Haven Law enables a person to give up their infant anonymously without fear of arrest or prosecution. In 2017, Indiana expanded the Safe Haven Law to allow for baby boxes at limited locations, including hospitals. Then in 2018, Indiana allowed for fire stations with 24/7 emergency medical service (EMS) staffing to house baby boxes.
Safe Haven Baby Boxes are incubators in which an infant can be safely surrendered. EMS providers are immediately alerted and the baby is examined and, if needed, given medical treatment.
This year, to take the law a step further, I'm supporting House Bill 1230. This bill would expand the existing Safe Haven law by allowing a patient to anonymously surrender their baby at a hospital or medical facility after the baby is delivered. In addition, HB 1230 would expand accessibility for parents by allowing them to call 911 and anonymously surrender their baby. The baby would have to be less than 30 days old.
Community awareness regarding Safe Haven Baby Boxes is continuing to improve. There are currently 53 Safe Haven Baby Boxes in Indiana, including one in Vincennes and one in Ferdinand.
Offering more ways to help safely surrender babies will ultimately save them from abandonment and neglect. Since the program's founding, 12 babies have been safely surrendered. Ohio, Arkansas and Florida have followed our lead in adopting the use of baby boxes.
Safe Haven Baby Boxes are an important alternative to abortion, helping care for Hoosier children while also respecting the parents. HB 1230 would make important additions to this program, allowing more baby boxes to be installed across the state.
HB 1230 passed the Indiana House of Representatives and the Senate Committee on Family and Children Services unanimously and now will be considered by the full Senate.
Hoosier parents who need to talk to a counselor or need help finding a baby box location can call the 24/7 Safe Haven Hotline at 1-866-99BABY1 or by visiting shbb.org/locations.