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Gov. Beshear signs bill approving the installation of 'baby boxes' in Kentucky

The boxes allow new mothers to surrender their baby, without fear of persecution or judgment, within the first 30 days of life.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Last week, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed several bills, including House Bill 155, or the "Safe Haven Baby Box" bill.

The bill will allow for the installation of baby boxes in the exterior walls of designated police stations, fire stations and hospitals. The boxes allow new mothers to surrender their baby, without fear of persecution or judgment, within the first 30 days of life.

The bill passed the Kentucky Senate and House without a single "no" vote.

Each baby box has an exterior door that automatically locks upon placement of a newborn inside, and an interior door that allows a trained first responder access to the infant. The whole process takes no more than a couple minutes to complete. The baby is checked over at the hospital and then brought to a foster or adoptive family.

Safe Haven Baby Boxes provide more protection to the mother and child than a Safe Haven Law, which is applied differently in each state.

Today, at least 60 baby boxes are installed at fire stations and hospitals across Arkansas, Ohio, Florida and Indiana.

Before the passage of the bill, fire departments from at least three Kentucky cities had already requested a box and more donors are stepping up to foot the $10,000 bill. 

The Safe Haven Baby Boxes organization staffs a 24-hour hotline, 1-866-99BABY1, for women to talk to a trained professional as they consider their options. 

So far, 10 babies have been surrendered in these boxes since 2016, five of them in Indiana just last year. Another 97 babies were handed over because of the hotline, which has received more than 8,000 calls in the last 5 years.

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