ALABAMA (WHNT) — State lawmakers are looking to pass a bill that would offer an additional option to help new mothers who realize they are unable to care for their newborns.
The proposed measure would bring Safe Haven Baby Boxes to the state for the first time ever, and it’s being called the “Safe Haven Expansion Bill”.
Under the proposed law, parents would have the option to anonymously surrender their infant child. With this, lawmakers are looking to offer different possibilities for women with newborns who may not be ready for parenthood.
State leaders recently passed the bill on the Alabama house floor, approving the expansion of the current law.
The safety devices lock automatically upon the entry of an infant, triggering an alarm that notifies first responders immediately when a baby has been dropped off.
With the mission to provide more opportunities for individuals who are not ready for parenthood, Representative Donna Givens says the devices will offer a safe space for newborns who are surrendered.
“This newborn will be cared for. They will be put in a safe place,” Givens said. “It’s providing for this helpless newborn the one that cannot help themselves.”
Fire stations will be the primary location for the devices. That is because departments are typically manned 24 hours with firefighters who are trained in emergency response.
Kids to Love is dedicated to impacting the lives of children. The foundation’s CEO Lee Marshall says the baby boxes will offer new mothers additional possibilities when deciding what to do with their newborns.
“It’s not shameful if they’re not ready to parent and so what we want to do is just give women another option,” Marshall told News 19.
Under current state law, parents get 72 hours. However, under the proposed law, parents would be given 45 days to surrender their baby. This gives them extra time to make a decision.
“These boxes that will be conveniently located across the state of Alabama, they will be able to be another resource for women who are choosing not to parent their babies but choosing to make a responsible choice,” Marshall said.
According to the bill’s sponsor, the purpose of the measure is to prevent the loss of life.
“The full intent of this bill is about saving lives,” Givens said.
Kids to Love say they worked hard to help make the bill a possibility. Marshall says the foundation has parents who are already willing to adopt babies who are surrendered.
“We have so many families waiting to adopt those babies,” Marshall said. She added what she’s hoping to see long-term if the bill is signed into law.
“Long-term we are going to see so many more infants that are saved in our state, that are then placed into loving adoptive homes,” Marshall told News 19.
Although the bill unanimously passed on the house floor, the Senate is set to consider House Bill 473 on Wednesday, May 31st. If the measure successfully passes, it would be sent to Governor Kay Ivey’s office to be signed into law.