Politics

Texas’s First Safe Haven Baby Box Installed in Abilene

The first Safe Haven Baby Box in Texas opened on Tuesday at a fire station in Abilene.

The baby box is located at Abilene’s Fire Station No. 7 on North Pioneer Drive. Under the state’s Baby Moses Law, fire stations and hospitals are “bafe safe” sites where parents who are unable to care for their infants 60 days and younger may surrender them anonymously.

Chief Cande Flores with the Abilene Fire Department (AFD) told KTAB/KRBC:

We’re in the business of saving lives, and we have lots of equipment to do that, and to us, this is another piece of the equipment that allows the public an opportunity to go to somewhere… Anonymous. It’s safe, and they can provide something for their child that, normally, they cannot.

Baby boxes were created to deter parents from abandoning their newborns, potentially leaving them to die. Baby boxes are temperature-controlled incubators often built into exterior walls of fire stations, police stations, and hospitals that can be accessed from inside. At-risk mothers can safely and legally place their newborns inside. Then, the outside door locks, and mothers have time to get away before an alarm goes off alerting first responders or hospital staff inside.

The baby is then quickly removed and sent to a hospital for a wellness check. From there, the baby is usually placed into state custody and often quickly adopted.

Monica Kelsey, founder and CEO of Safe Haven Baby Boxes, told the outlet there are more than 200 safe boxes across 16 states and that the Abilene box is the first in Texas.

“We’ll probably have over 300 boxes by the end of the year. We call it a blessing of the box, that we just blessed the very first box in the State of Texas. It’s an amazing day today,” said Kelsey.

Kelsey told KTXS that Texas “leads the nation in infant abandonment and we know we can change this.”

“We can make an impact by providing a place for safe, anonymous surrender for mothers in crisis. Abilene is starting a trend of change in Texas and we are so thrilled to be a part of it,” she said.

The Safe Haven Baby Box website says its 24-hour hotline has received more than 9,000 calls across the United States. 

“Safe Haven Baby Boxes has referred over 500 women to crisis pregnancy centers, assisted in nine adoption referrals, and have had over 140 legal Safe Haven surrenders,” according to the report. “The organization says 43 babies have been surrendered in baby boxes and three babies were surrendered directly to firefighters at Safe Haven Baby Box locations.”

West Texans for Life, a pro-life group based in Abilene, worked to bring about the state’s first baby box and raised approximately $20,000 for the project, according to the report.

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