February 26, 2018

Baby Boxes Expansion Added Into Abortion Measure

Article origination IPBS-RJC
A House committee couldn't hear the baby box expansion bill in the session's second half. - Lauren Chapman/IPB News

A House committee couldn't hear the baby box expansion bill in the session's second half.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

A bill to expand access in Indiana to baby boxes won’t advance any further this session. Baby boxes are meant to be a more anonymous way for people to drop off unwanted newborns.

Still, the expansion effort is alive and well – in a separate piece of legislation.

A 2017 measure allowed hospitals to house the devices. Last year’s law also grandfathered-in the state’s two existing baby boxes, which are in volunteer firehouses.

This year’s measure would allow all firehouses staffed 24-7 to install them.

House Judiciary Committee Chair Greg Steuerwald (R-Danville) says he has no problem with the bill – but didn’t have time in the session’s second half to hear it.

So lawmakers added the entire bill’s language to a separate measure: an abortion bill. Rep. Martin Carbaugh (R-Fort Wayne) is the baby box bill’s sponsor. He says he’s confident there won’t be any issues – even though abortion legislation attracts more opposition.

“Even though there is controversy, there’s usually a few Democrats that add their name to it,” Carbaugh says. “And I’m hoping that’s the case again and maybe the baby box helps them out a little bit.”

The abortion bill – with the baby box expansion provision – is currently on the House floor.

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