Kentucky sees its first baby surrender at a fire station

Baby Boxes: A simple organization to protect the public from illegal abortion bans and infrequent abandonment of infants to the authorities and for a forever home

Safe Haven Baby Boxes try to prevent illegal abandonment of newborns by giving parents a safe place to drop off their babies while remaining anonymous. Dozens of boxes have been set up by the nonprofit in multiple states.

“It’s really simple from a policy matter,” Santa Clara University law professor Michelle Oberman told NPR’s All Things Considered in August. “It doesn’t require you to face hard questions about what we owe people most impacted by abortion bans.”

The newborn surrendered to the Ocala Fire Rescue was the first newborn surrendered in Florida in the last 10 days. She declined to give an exact date to protect the infant’s anonymity.

Baby boxes aren’t a new invention. When she first saw one in South Africa, she was inspired to start her organization. And in Europe, the practice has gone on for centuries: a convent, or place of worship, would set up rotating cribs, known as “foundling wheels,” where a child could be left.

While every state in the U.S. has some sort of legislation allowing infants to be surrendered to the authorities, a United Nations committee publicly called in 2012 for the practice to end. Even though some countries are banning the practice, others such as Italy introduced more high-tech devices for surrendering children in 2007. There are still dozens of “cradles for life,” or “culle per la vita” in almost every region in Italy.

Another criticism lies in how infrequently infants are surrendered. In Texas, the number of abortions and live-births far eclipse the mere 172 infants successfully surrendered under the state’s safe haven law since 2009, according to The Texas Tribune. According to the National Safe Haven Alliance’s most recent report, at least 4,505 infants were surrendered through safe haven laws nationwide in the last four years.

The baby is healthy, gorgeous, and perfect, and the Department of Child Services is looking for a forever home.

The boxes on the exterior walls of hospitals allow newborns to be placed in them, which lock on their exteriors, and sound a silent alarm if they get out.

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