The state of Indiana has introduced America’s first ever facilities for mothers to drop off unwanted babies anonymously.
The ‘Safe Haven Baby Box’ was opened to the public on Tuesday, with one outside the Woodburn Volunteer Fire Department and one in Michigan City.
In a move targeted to combat infanticide and the dumping of newborn babies, the scheme aims to provide a safe option to desperate parents. The stigma surrounding abortion is far greater in America than in the UK, owing to the powerful voice of the pro-life lobby in American government. Recently, plans to defund Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides contraception and abortion services to women, have also been developed. For all of these reasons, there is increased demand for alternative ways for mothers to deal with unwanted children.
The scheme was founded by Monica Kelsey, a fire department volunteer, who was conceived in rape and abandoned at birth herself. She is also the wife of a mayor in Indiana.
‘Safe Haven’ law in the United States allows women to abandon newborns without legal consequences at public places like hospitals and fire stations.
The Safe Haven Baby Boxes website notes: “These boxes have a heating and cooling unit and are equipped with ADT trips so emergency personnel will be notified within 30 seconds that there is a newborn placed in the box. The child will then be picked up by EMS within 3-5 minutes.”
Each Safe Haven box reportedly costs between $1500 and $2000, with the initial funding for the programme coming from a local Catholic church.
Kelsey has celebrated the introduction of the first ‘baby boxes’ on social media.