(NEWSER) – Newborn incubators, or baby boxes, could be showing up soon at Indiana hospitals, fire stations, churches, and selected nonprofits under legislation that would give mothers in crisis a way to surrender their children safely and anonymously. Indiana could be the first state to allow use of the baby boxes on a broad scale to prevent dangerous abandonments of infants if the bill, which unanimously passed the House this week, clears the state Senate.
Republican state Rep. Casey Cox says his bill is a natural progression of "safe haven" laws that give parents a legal way to surrender newborns at certain facilities without fear of prosecution so long as the child hasn't been harmed. There have been more than 2,800 safe surrenders since 1999. But more than 1,400 other children have been found illegally abandoned, nearly two-thirds of whom died.