Today, Governor Evers signed the Safe Haven Baby Box Bill, an expansion of Wisconsin’s Safe Haven law passed in 2001.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families (DCF), Safe Haven protocol, also known as “infant relinquishment,” allows a parent to anonymously leave their unharmed newborn baby (72 hours old or under) with an approved police officer, 911 emergency medical staff person, or a hospital staff member. The law signed today expands the Save Haven program to allow fully staffed hospitals and fire and police stations to install ventilated, temperature-controlled “baby boxes” in outside walls so that parents can more easily relinquish their babies anonymously. Once closed, the boxes will automatically lock and trigger an alarm to alert building staff to the presence of the baby. An adoption plan is created for babies surrendered through the Safe Haven program.
Wisconsin Right to Life celebrates the passage of this bipartisan measure. Gracie Skogman, Wisconsin Right to Life’s legislative/PAC director, stated, “The message of the pro-life movement is one of compassion and support for preborn children and their mothers. This law is a powerful step towards ensuring that all life is protected in our state and expectant mothers are offered options and support.”
Skogman continued, “Safe Haven laws have saved over 4,000 lives nationwide. Similar legislation has been passed in 13 states and has been lifesaving! The Safe Haven Baby Box hotline has received over 8,000 calls, referred over 500 women to pregnancy help centers, and assisted in 9 adoption referrals. Thirty-six babies have been surrendered in Safe Haven Baby Boxes, including three babies that were surrendered directly to firefighters at Safe Haven Baby Box locations. Our hope is that this expansion to Wisconsin’s law will remove even more stigma from the process of infant relinquishment so that expectant mothers feel truly supported when making these difficult decisions.”
Gracie Skogman, Legislative/PAC Director