ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The choice to surrender an infant is never an easy one, though at times it can be the best decision for a parent who finds themselves unable to provide a safe and healthy environment for the child. The Baby Moses Law identifies fire stations and medical centers as “Safe Baby Zones” at which infants 60 days or younger can be surrendered to authorities and placed in protective care. The “Safe Haven Baby Box” is a new development meant to make that process more safe and secure for the child. Soon, Abilene will the latest Texas city to have one.
“We’re known for having big hearts here in Abilene, and I think this is right in line with that,” said Chief Cande Flores of the Abilene Fire Department (AFD).
Local pro-life activism group, West Texans For Life became aware of the Safe Haven Baby Box and reached out to the City of Abilene to see if one could be installed here. Group President, Dr. Jim Sulliman said there was no question in his mind that their organization would do all they could to bring this resource to the Key City.
“To give a baby an opportunity to have a safe and healthy life means a lot, because we really don’t know what the alternative is,” Dr. Sulliman advocated.
Upon approval from the city and AFD, the West Texans for Life group began fundraising the $20,000 needed to construct and ship a Safe Haven Baby Box from the company in Indiana that makes them. Dr. Sulliman told KTAB/KRBC the funds were raised quickly thanks to the impassioned donations of the community and their partner organizations across the Big Country.
“It was a very easy process to raise the $20,000 because so many people want to do everything they can to save the lives of babies,” praised Dr. Sulliman.
The Safe Haven Baby Boxes are temperature controlled and constantly surveilled. Once a child is laid inside, the outer door locks so that only an official on the other side can retrieve the infant. Chief Flores said while child surrender is a rare occurrence, having a safe place for the child is a necessary resource.
“It is air conditioned, it is heated, it is monitored. So, there’s never any chance that a baby is dropped of without somebody knowing about it,” Chief Flores assured.
Once the child is inside, authorities are notified so that no child spends any more than five minutes alone before retrieval. After which, they can be medically cleared and on their way to a safe home.
“A safe baby box is available 24 hours where a mother can put her baby in. Most of the time, within five minutes, the baby is taken from there, given a quick check to make sure the baby is in good health, and then taken to the hospital for a more thorough evaluation,” explained Dr. Sulliman.
Although these devices have been widely utilized in other states, Abilene will be one of, if not the first to install the branded Safe Haven Baby Box.
With recent changes in city legislature, Chief Flores said these boxes are a wise precaution.
“Abilene becoming a Sanctuary City [For the Unborn], we know that the opportunities are going to be there to where more babies are born into whatever circumstances,” Chief Flores detailed. “If it’s needed, it’s needed, and if it’s not, we’re just here just in case.”
The box will be installed at Abilene’s Fire Station #7 at 431 North Pioneer Drive. The added anonymity of the process and location far from residential neighborhoods is hoped to fight against the stigma of surrendering a child, so that parents in need might not turn to possibly dangerous alternatives.
“It is surrounded by businesses, so there’s not a lot of prying eyes,” Chief Flores added.
Once the check for the box is sent to the Indiana-based Safe Haven Baby Box company, manufacturing will begin. From start to arrival, this process should take roughly eight weeks.