‘Baby Box’ Legislation Passes First House Committee

“People in crisis need help. People in crisis need a place to go. And this is just one avenue and one way to do that,” the state representative said, Kelly Fajardo.

The bill would provide $330,000 to install baby boxes in safe places like fire stations and hospitals — and another $70,000 to help educate the public about them.

Baby boxes are secure devices where someone can safely leave a newborn baby. Monica Kelsey, the founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes, says they already have 98 boxes in 6 states.

“We had a total of 14 babies in our boxes. In Indiana they had 12 of these babies, Arkansas had 2 of these babies and we had 115 women in our program. ‘options. When you give them good options, they’ll choose an option that’s right for them,” Kelsey said.

New Mexico already has a shelter law on the books — but a person must turn the baby over to an on-site staff member. Proponents of this bill claim that baby boxes provide an anonymous option.

The bill passed its first committee by a 7-3 vote. Some lawmakers believe the bill needs more work.

“I think the bill is very well intentioned. I think it’s something we should do. I just think we need to have a very strong bill to do it because if we don’t , we will end up with additional problems and additional problems,” State Rep. Marian Matthews said.

The bill now heads to its second House committee.

Española has found a way to do so under current state law and is moving forward with plans to install the state’s first baby box in the city.

Runway HB 157 during the legislative session.

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