The following is a press release from Arkansas Right to Life.

LITTLE ROCK – Two new Safe Haven Baby Box locations were dedicated this week in Arkansas bringing the total in the state to 23.

The new Safe Haven Baby Boxes locations are at the Mayflower Police Station and Russellville Fire Department Station No. 3.

The Mayflower Baby Box is the first Arkansas location to feature the anonymous surrender option at a police station, said Safe Haven Baby Box Founder Monica Kelsey.

“For years police departments have been a site for the Safe Haven Law’s surrender, but we are now adding the condition of anonymity,” she said. “What is so crucial is protecting these infants and their brave birth mothers, if we can ensure they do not have to choose between protecting their infant or their identity we can end infant abandonment. We know the community of Mayflower will be better off for this additional measure of protection.”

Russellville Mayor Fred Teague said, “We, as the City of Russellville are grateful to be part of the Safe Haven Baby Box Network. Although we, as Fire and Police Departments, have always been safe options for surrendering a child, the Baby Box allows a safer and more secure option for parents who find themselves making this decision. This system will ensure the highest quality of care for the infants coming into our care.”

Safe Haven Baby Boxes are installed on the exterior wall of a designated fire station, hospital or police station. Other boxes in Arkansas are located in Cabot, Jacksonville, Hot Springs, Rogers, Springdale, Mountain Home, Jonesboro, Conway, Fort Smith, Maumelle, DeQueen, Nashville, Magnolia, and El Dorado.

Arkansas Right to Life has promoted the Safe Haven Law through a billboard campaign that began in Harrison in June 2019. Since then, billboards have been placed in 32 Arkansas counties.

Rose Mimms, executive director of Arkansas Right to Life, stressed the importance of the billboard campaign and mothers knowing about the Safe Haven Law. The Safe Haven Baby Box hotline number is listed on all billboards.

“The Safe Haven Law can help a mother to safely surrender her child to an official location, hospital, law enforcement or manned fire department in Arkansas or anonymously in a Safe Haven Baby Box,” Mimms said.

The Safe Haven Law, enacted in Arkansas in 2001, is designed to protect babies from being hurt or killed by abandonment by parents who are unwilling or unable to provide parenting. Under the law, a parent may give up an infant anonymously at a hospital emergency room or law enforcement agency, but in 2019 the law was amended to include manned fire stations as a surrender location. The amended law sponsored by Arkansas Sen. Cecile Bledsoe and Rep. Rebecca Petty also approved the installation of newborn safety devices at surrender locations.