LANSING, Mich. (Michigan New Source) – Safe baby drop boxes, which allow parents to surrender their newborns at fire departments anonymously, could get a new lease on life in Michigan if House Bill 5407 makes it through the legislature.

What’s in the bill?

State Rep. Will Bruck (R-Erie) said the bill would expand Michigan’s current safe haven law to allow communities throughout Michigan to install safe baby drop boxes at fire stations. This method allows the surrender to be done safely, legally, and anonymously.

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“My goal is to provide a compassionate solution to a heartbreaking problem,” Bruck said. “This legislation offers a secure and legal option for parents facing tough decisions, ensuring the well-being of newborns and giving families a lifeline during difficult times.”

This bill would build on Michigan’s Safe Haven law.

Since 2001, Michigan’s Safe Delivery of Newborns Law has allowed parents to surrender their newborns to hospitals, as well as police and fire stations to an emergency service provider. According to Right to Life of Michigan, this law has saved the lives of more than 300 babies.

Rep. Bruck explained that safe baby drop boxes are installed in the exterior wall of a safe and temperature-controlled location. Sensors are attached that notify emergency responders within seconds of an infant being placed inside. First responders then take the newborn to a hospital.

Democrats for Life of Michigan is not on the same page with Whitmer’s abortion stance and supports the bill.

While “fight like hell” for abortion rights has been a mantra of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, there are those within her own party that break with her on this issue. Sarah Burchart, with Democrats for Life of Michigan, said the safe baby drop box bills are important.

Burchart said, “It provides an additional avenue for infant children to be relinquished safely as opposed to abandoned in unsafe or life-threatening circumstances due to a parent tragically not feeling equipped to raise his or her child,” she said. “Even with current state safe haven laws, there is the possibility of a parent not wanting to interact directly with first responders out of fear or embarrassment, particularly in smaller or more close-knit communities where they may be more likely to fear being recognized.”

In addition, Burchart mentioned that Michigan Senate versions of the bill have one Democratic sponsor Senator Paul Wojno (D-Warren).

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“Helping increase viable safe haven options should be a no-brainer,” Burchart said. “It would also be encouraging to see Republicans and Democrats come together on this legislation in Lansing when more and more it seems like they can agree on little else.”

Where is the bill now?

Similar measures wound up on former Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk in 2018, but he vetoed the bipartisan plan. At the time, Snyder acknowledged the importance of Safe Haven law, but said “I do not believe it is appropriate to allow for parents to surrender a baby by simply depositing the baby into a device, rather than physically handing the baby to a uniformed police, fire or hospital employee.”

The current safe baby drop box bill has been referred to the Committee on Families, Children and Seniors.