Unwanted babies can now be given away anonymously as first Safe Haven drop-off boxes are installed in the US


There's a law in the US that allows mothers to give away unwanted babies aged up to 30 days, without any questions asked or prosecution.

But in case mothers feel the Safe Haven law is not anonymous enough, two drop-off boxes for abandoned babies have been installed in the US state of Indiana by the Safe Haven Baby Boxes charity.

Two padded, climate-controlled containers, which alert the emergency services when a baby is dropped off, are now in use at a fire station in Woodburn and another in Michigan City.

Safe Haven Baby Boxes founder Monica Kelsey, a volunteer with the fire department who has been advocating for baby boxes in Indiana for several years, said some people want total anonymity.

She told the story of a girl who called a hotline she volunteers for who wanted to know where a baby box was. The girl refused to go to a hospital or fire station to drop off the baby, but eventually her boyfriend brought the baby to a hospital.

"This is not criminal," Kelsey said. "This is legal. We don't want to push women away."

Kelsey was abandoned by her mother at a hospital when she was just hours old.

The move comes shortly after presidential candidate Donald Trump suggested women who have abortions should be punished and also a move in the neighbouring state of Ohio to cut $1 million of funding to Planned Parenthood, which provides contraception and terminations.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have safe haven laws, which allow unharmed newborns to be surrendered without fear of prosecution. Indiana's law allows mothers to drop off newborns at police stations, fire stations and hospitals.

Critics of baby boxes contend the containers make it easier to surrender a child without exploring other options and can deprive mothers of needed medical care.

But Safe Haven advocates believe it protects babies from being illegally dumped without being left in a safe place.

Similar baby boxes are used for unwanted babies in countries including China, South Korea, Hungary and Germany.