Information Sheet on Louisiana HB218
The Truth About Baby Boxes is Not Good for Children
HB218 Permits Depository Boxes for the Anonymous Relinquishment of Infants to be Installed on the Exterior of Buildings
While the bill is permissible, this legislation circumvents the best practice of a person-to-person hand-off for an infant being surrendered.
Direct Problems With the Boxes:
- Makes it harder to track down abusers if baby was abused prior to being placed in the box. 2. Allows one parent to act unilaterally without the consent of the other parent, and because the whole point of the boxes is anonymity, it will be difficult to track down the other parent for proper consent, if this can even be done.
- Violates the rights of the child to be able to find out any information about their lineage that could be gathered during a person-to-person hand-off.
Baby Boxes Can Be Used By Traffickers to Rid Their Victims of Unwanted Babies
The UN Commission on Rights of the Child recommended a ban on such boxes in 2012 because of this risk, particularly when the trafficked mother does not consent to having the baby taken. These boxes would give human traffickers legal cover and provide them with the anonymity they crave. See this article on the recommended ban here. Traffickers who don’t want to draw attention by leaving an infant in a field or by the side of the road (an illegal act) would now have legal cover to leave an infant in a box to escape detection. Worse, traffickers can force their victims to place babies in these boxes placing even more emotional distress on both the mother and child.
A Baby Has Been Left Abandoned Within a Mile of One of These Boxes in Indiana
Seymour, Indiana, home to a fire station Baby Box saw an infant abandoned along the side of the road in October 2019. Read the article here.
Leaders in Michigan and Texas have Rejected These Boxes Gov. Rick Snider vetoed legislation to permit these boxes in 2018. Read his veto letter. Similar legislation in Texas House and Senate was parked in their respective committees during their 2021 Session which ended on Monday. See the link here and here.
The Truth About Baby Boxes Boxes cost $15,000 to Lease and Install
Even though these funds would be privately raised, these funds could be better used promoting the existing Safe Haven laws that would protect the wellbeing of both the parents and the child.
National Safe Haven Alliance Recommends Person-to-Person Relinquishment
See their letter here. A representative from the Alliance told a Safe Haven Commission meeting about a mother who had lost her job due to Covid and was ready to surrender her infant at a Safe Haven location, but who called the hotline and was able to get the services she needed to keep her family together. A depository box deprives the situation of the opportunity to offer services and supports to a struggling parent.
Adoptee Rights Organization Opposes This Type of Legislation Legislation to expand Safe Haven laws and incorporate Safe Haven Boxes are opposed by children who have been abandoned and adopted. Read their full opposition here.
We ask that you oppose this legislation.
Only a handful of states have allowed these and even only located at hospitals these boxes are not a good idea for our children.
This information was compiled by the Louisiana Partnership for Children and Families. For questions or concerns contact Susan East Nelson, email@example.com.
Source: Furnished by Louisiana Partnership for Children and Families
Oral testimony before the Louisiana Senate Health and Welfare Committee, June 2, 2021, (Marker: 9:50)