SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Two lawmakers are proposing funding “baby boxes” in each of New Mexico’s 33 counties in an effort to increase options for parents who want to abandon their babies under the state’s existing safe haven law.
A bill to fund the initiative introduced by Sens. David Gallegos, a Republican, and Leo Jaramillo, a Democrat, would allocate around $30,000 for each of the boxes, which would be equipped with heat regulation and silent alarms.
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The legislation would change New Mexico’s safe haven law, which currently allows parents of newborns to abandon their baby without liability by presenting it to a healthcare worker, law enforcement officer or first responder within 90 days of birth.
The proposal comes in response to a recent case in Hobbs, where police say an 18-year-old woman abandoned her baby in a dumpster. Police said the woman told them she hadn’t known she was pregnant until the day before she gave birth.
The case brought renewed attention to the safe haven law, and Hobbs police officials promised to increase awareness of the program.