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.