The Senate has unanimously endorsed a first step toward creating "baby boxes" for abandoned newborns.
Since 2000, Indiana has had a "safe haven" law allowing babies to be dropped off anonymously at hospitals or fire stations. A House bill would go a step further and allow the installation of incubator dropboxes.
Rep. Casey Cox (R-Fort Wayne) says there have been cases in which parents don‘t trust the promise of anonymity and abandon infants in parks or trash bins -- exactly the scenario the safe haven law was intended to prevent.
Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) sponsored the bill in the Senate, but says there are many unanswered questions, including whether the dropbox concept is technologically feasible and whether total anonymity is appropriate if a baby has been abused.
“I’m willing to do as much as we can to save a life, but I don’t want anybody to be able to sweep under the rug abusing a baby,” Merritt says.
The Senate version of the bill calls on the Indiana State Department of Health to study the idea and report back to legislators before next year‘s session.