Activism

Kentucky governor signs ‘safe haven baby box’ law to help parents safely surrender newborns

Kentucky mothers who are unable to care for their infants now have another option when it comes to surrendering them to authorities anonymously. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear recently signed into law House Bill 155, the “Safe Haven Baby Box” bill, which allows parents to anonymously and safely place an infant into a designated Safe Haven Baby Box up to 30 days after birth.

A Safe Haven Baby Box is a ventilated, temperature-controlled unit that is easily installed in a public building, like a firehouse or hospital. The box is monitored and an alarm is triggered each time it is utilized so that the baby is rescued moments after it is placed in the box. The baby box offers an alternative to parents who, for whatever reason, feel they may not be able to care for their infants.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Nancy Tate, praised the bill’s passage. “I am committed to passing pro-life legislation, and, ultimately, that is exactly what this bill is,” she said. “Pro-life means supporting parents and children before and after birth. This bill provides parents who may be at the end of their rope a safe option to save the life of their child. I appreciate the bipartisan support the bill received in the House and the Senate and thank the governor for signing it into law.”

READ: Months after student raised funds to install Indiana baby box, it saved a baby girl’s life

Wave 3 News interviewed 15-year-old Isabella Lamkin after the bill’s passage. Lamkin, who was abandoned as an infant in China and adopted years later, started a Change.org petition shortly after the bill was introduced, urging legislators to vote in its favor. Her petition garnered over 1,700 signatures of support. “I feel that every child should be able to have a family that loves and cares for them as much as my family loves me,” she said.

Safe Haven Baby Box founder and CEO Monica Kelsey also spoke to the news station about how the program can benefit mothers in crisis. “We are a no shame, no blame, no name, and no judgment organization. We’re here to walk alongside you and make a safe and legal option,” said Kelsey, who was abandoned herself as an infant. “This has got to be one of the most difficult things a woman does but she does it for the betterment of her child.”

The Safe Haven Baby Box program is currently active in 60 locations in multiple states. According to Kelsey, dozens of babies have been saved over the years through the Safe Haven program. Although no boxes have been installed in Kentucky yet, Kelsey said she has already received twenty requests from fire stations and hospitals in the state.

While Safe Haven Baby Boxes provide an additional option for mothers who are unable to care for an infant, you don’t need to live in Kentucky to surrender an infant. Each state has its own safe haven laws, which allow parents to anonymously surrender their infant to a designated provider. Laws like these and baby boxes provide parents with a safe, pro-life alternative to give their child a chance at life.

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