Pro-life lobby tell women to leave unwanted babies in ‘drop boxes’

·4 min read
More than 12 states have passed laws allowing baby drop boxes, and it is estimated that there are more than 100 in the US - Safe Haven Baby Boxes
More than 12 states have passed laws allowing baby drop boxes, and it is estimated that there are more than 100 in the US - Safe Haven Baby Boxes

Abortion opponents are promoting “drop boxes” for unwanted babies, enabling mothers to surrender their newborns for adoption in the wake of Roe V Wade being overturned.

Resembling drop-off bins used by libraries for returning books, the baby boxes are part of the Safe Haven movement, which aims to promote adoption as an alternative to abortion.

They can be found at fire stations and hospitals, where staff have been trained to handle babies who have been abandoned.

The boxes offer parents anonymity because the baby is surrendered without face-to-face contact

A parent surrendering a baby pulls open a metal bin containing a temperature-controlled bassinet. Once shut, the baby box is locked, and an alarm is triggered to alert staff.

Babies, on average, spend less than two minutes in the drop box before being rescued.

The majority of baby drop boxes are in Indiana, where the movement was started by Monica Kelsey - Safe Haven Baby Boxes
The majority of baby drop boxes are in Indiana, where the movement was started by Monica Kelsey - Safe Haven Baby Boxes

More than 12 states have passed laws allowing baby drop boxes, and it is estimated that there are more than 100 in the US.

The majority of baby drop boxes are in Indiana, where the movement was started by Monica Kelsey, who discovered that she had been abandoned two hours after she had been born.

Her mother, who had been raped, was on the point of having an abortion. Instead, she handed the baby over to a hospital in Ohio.

While the boxes have existed in Indiana for a number of years, a box at a fire station in Carmel has received three babies this year after being unused for three years previously.

Over the summer, three more babies have been left at drop boxes elsewhere in the state.

Overturning Roe v Wade gives movement a boost

The Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v Wade in June has given the safe haven movement a boost, with 22 states already having laws on the books banning or restricting abortion.

Last week, Indiana became the first state to approve abortion restrictions following the Supreme Court ruling.

All 50 states in the US have safe haven laws protecting mothers who surrender their babies from prosecution.

Ms Kelsey’s organisation has tried to promote awareness of the safe haven laws and her organisation’s hotline has received more than 8,000 calls from across the US.

It has also received more than 100 babies, of which 21 have been surrendered via the safe haven boxes.

The first safe haven legislation, known as the “Baby Moses” law, was passed in Texas in 1999 after infants were found dumped in rubbish bins and skips - Safe Haven Baby Boxes
The first safe haven legislation, known as the “Baby Moses” law, was passed in Texas in 1999 after infants were found dumped in rubbish bins and skips - Safe Haven Baby Boxes

Ms Kelsey is lobbying for the boxes to be introduced across the country and expects they will be installed in all 50 states within five years.

“Abandonments are happening everywhere, but people are not aware of it because it's not happening in their backyard,” she said.

“We can all agree a baby should be placed in my box and not in a dumpster to die,” she told the New York Times.

“When a woman is given options, she will choose what’s best for her,” Ms. Kelsey added.

“And if that means that in her moment of crisis she chooses a baby box, we should all support her in her decision.”

The first safe haven legislation, known as the “Baby Moses” law, was passed in Texas in 1999 after infants were found dumped in rubbish bins and skips.

Supporters include two of the Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn Roe v Wade” Amy Coney Barrett and Samuel Alito.

Meanwhile, pro-choice California governor Gavin Newsom, has appealed to Hollywood film makers to boycott states which ban abortions.

Urging them to “walk the walk” Mr Newsom, who is tipped as a potential Democratic presidential candidate in 2024, has taken out an advert in the Hollywood trade paper, Variety.

Mr Newsom’s campaign is the latest move in a culture war which has pitched progressive governors against conservatives in what is seen as a potential dry run for the 2024 presidential election.