To continue efforts to assist families in a post-Roe v. Wade Mississippi, lawmakers made a push during the 2023 legislative session to expand the state’s baby drop-off laws.
House Bill 1318, authored by Representative Jill Ford, R-Madison, extends the period of time when parents can legally surrender their baby at a designated drop-off spot — which is typically a hospital or fire station — from the first seven days of the child’s life to 45 days after the baby had been born.
In addition, parents would also be able to call 911 and surrender their child to any emergency medical provider within the parent’s area.
Senator Nicole Akins Boyd, R-Oxford, who served as a conferee in discussions regarding the bill, says legislators were looking to ensure that parents incapable of providing care for a child had the requisite amount of time to make a decision while also having a safe place to drop off a baby.
“We want to make sure that if somebody needs to surrender a child, and we hope that never happens, but if they need to, there’s a way for them to safely be able to do that,” Boyd said on MidDays With Gerard Gibert. “It provides them basically complete anonymity in the process and allows them to do this without shame. I feel like this is a very compassionate piece of legislation that’s both good for the child and good for the surrendering parent.”
HB 1318 passed the House unanimously after the conference report was filed and made its way out of the Senate with just one nay vote. The bill has been sent to Governor Tate Reeves’ desk.