Safe Haven Baby Boxes could be an alternative to abortion under safe haven laws

Since Friday's ruling, safe haven laws have been put in place. One would allow a mother to anonymously surrender her infant to a volunteer program

LEXINGTON, KY (WTVQ) – The Supreme Court cited safe haven laws as an abortion alternative when it overturned Roe V. Wade, which includes infant surrender.

With the help of emergency responders, infants are cared for and given homes through a volunteer program. However, depending on where you live, getting to a baby box might be a bit of a drive. That could soon change according to Monica Kelsey.

Kelsey is the founder and CEO of Safe Haven Baby Boxes, a volunteer program that partners with hospitals and local first responders. According to Kelsey, 20 years ago mother’s didn’t have the option to anonymously surrender an infant.

“You couldn’t walk into a fire station or a hospital to surrender your child no questions asked. What was happening was..We were finding babies in dumpsters and trashcans all over this country ,” says Kelsey.

In the late 90’s Infant Safe Haven Laws were enacted in many states. Those laws protected the infant and the mother from facing criminal liability and prosecution. While Kelsey says it’s a serious decision to abandon an infant, it’s apart of her story and a driving factor for doing what she does.

“Two hours after my birth mom gave birth to me she actually abandoned me. This was prior to the Safe Haven Law,” says Kelsey.

There are 10 electronically monitored boxes set-up in Kentucky at a number of fire stations and hospitals to provide anonymity for mothers. But since Roe V. Wade was overturned, some say there may be a greater need for them in the future.

The Lexington Fire Department says last July someone surrendered an infant. At this point, there’s no timeline for when a baby box could be installed in the city.

“Our policy now and for a far as I know in the future will remain the same and that is. That a parent can safely surrender their child if the child is under 30 days old and we will provide any patient care required transfer them to the hospital and child protective services would get involved from there,” says Jessica Bowman with the Lexington Fire Department.

Kelsey says ultimately, it’s up to the community to call on city leaders.

“I don’t know when Lexington is going to get a baby box or if they are going to get a baby box. That would definitely be up to the city of Lexington to choose to be proactive in the approach of infant abandonment in this country,” says Kelsey.

As part of the surrendering process, after infants are checked out by medical professionals the program also helps with the adoption process. You can find more information, including a hotline number through the link here.

 

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