SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – At the Roundhouse Wednesday, state lawmakers discussed legislation surrounding the safe surrender of infants. House Bill 157 comes on the heels of a newborn being thrown into a dumpster in Hobbs by his mother, 18-year-old Alexis Avila.
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The bill would have several components. First, it would allow the installation and operation of surrender safety devices – a location where a baby can be safe for up to 30 minutes and would set off an alarm when an infant is placed inside. They can be at places like hospitals, police stations, or fire stations.
Second, the bill would protect parents from criminal prosecution if an infant is left at a “Safe Haven” site or inside one of those surrender safety devices. The bill would also allocate $70,000 for public education, focusing on raising awareness among middle and high schoolers.
“When they’re in college somewhere else, they’re going to remember they can take a newborn to a fire station, or a hospital, based on the training they received in high school,” said Monica Kelsey from Safe Haven Baby Boxes. “Once they get out of high school, there’s no guarantee they’re going to get that information anywhere.”
The bill passed the Health and Human Services Committee with a 7 to 3 vote.