Help support MI HB4523 - Safe Haven Baby Boxes legal in MI - for anonymous baby drop off

Help support MI HB4523 - Safe Haven Baby Boxes legal in MI - for anonymous baby drop off

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James Burke started this petition to Kathy Crawford (R) Committee Chair of Families, Children, and Seniors in Michigan House

The bill in the State of Michigan, House Bill 4523, if made into law, would create a safe haven baby box that parents could anonymously drop off their newborn infant into this device and revoke all parenting rights (State of Michigan Legislature, 2019). This bill has 16 house sponsors and support from both sides of the aisle with 8 democratic sponsors and 8 republican. The bill has currently been read once and placed into the Committee on Families, Children, and Seniors where it resides (American Nurses Association Michigan Legislative Action Center, 2020). In December of 2018 the Michigan House and Senate both passed the bill, however it was vetoed by then republican Governor Rick Snyder. Governor Snyder stated that the existing safe haven law for parents to drop off their newborns to emergency medical service providers was sufficient (Baker, 2019). Since that time, Michigan has voted in a new democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer. I believe that if it were approved by the legislative branch, that she would sign the bill into law.

According to the National Safe Haven Alliance (NSHA) 4,015 newborns have been dropped off to an official safe haven location since the start of state laws in 1999. There have been 1,465 illegal infant abandonments during the same time, and of those, 827 were deceased (National Safe Haven Alliance, 2020). It may be difficult for a pregnant mother to get an abortion. It may also be difficult for a new parent to try to find help or seek out social welfare programs that they may be entitled to. For these reasons anonymous baby drop off does serve a role as a last resort (Atushi & Hiroko, 2013).

On a global scale, other countries have enacted laws using similar devices with success. Slovakia initiated a safe haven baby box law in 2004 and since then have established 20 boxes and saved 47 babies. Czech Republic has created 65 boxes and between 2005 and 2014 saved 108 babies (Blažek & Prokeinová, 2017). 

I firmly believe that having these devices saves infant lives and if the cost of a box can save just one life, it is worth the investment. As this bill is currently in the Committee on Families, Children, and Seniors, I ask that you take the time to email Kathy Crawford (R) Committee Chair at KathyCrawford@house.mi.gov and ask her to support House Bill 4523 and move it to a full up and down vote. 

Kathy Crawford (R) Committee Chair of Families, Children, and Seniors in Michigan House

 

American Nurses Association Michigan Legislative Action Center. (2020). HB 4523 - Children; protection; surrender of newborn to a newborn safety device. www.congressweb.com/anami/legislators/info/mbr_id/4037#/bills/detail/id/14335/type/state

Atsushi, A. & Hiroko, I. (2013). Should we maintain baby hatches in our society? BMC Medical Ethics, 1, 9. https://doi-org.sacredheart.idm.oclc.org/10.1186/1472-6939-14-9


Baker, V. (2019, January 23). Drop-off baby boxes: Can they help save lives in the US? BBC. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-46801838

Blažek, R., & Prokeinová, M. (2017). How to provide a legal safe harbor for mothers of unwanted newborns. Issues in Law & Medicine, 32(1), 53–70.


National Safe Haven Alliance. (2020). National statistics. www.nationalsafehavenalliance.org/statistics/

State of Michigan Legislature. (2019). Surrender of newborn to a newborn safety device. Retrieved from http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(px0umhb3a5n2lhjmvkizrhls))/mileg.aspx?page=GetObject&objectname=2019-HB-4523

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