Discovery of newborn’s body prompts recall of Illinois baby shelter law – NBC Chicago
Chicago police are investigating after the body of a newborn baby was found in a duffel bag near a fire station on the city’s north side, authorities said.
The remains of the male baby were found around 5 a.m. Saturday outside the Chicago Fire Station at North Orleans and West Hill streets. Larry Merritt, a CFD spokesperson, told the Chicago Tribune that a fire crew discovered the snow-covered bag when they went out to shovel snow.
Under Illinois’ Baby Safe Haven law, parents can turn their newborn baby over to hospitals, police or fire stations without fear of prosecution – if the baby is less than 30 days old.
The fire station near where the baby was found was one of the locations.
“I have anger, real anger and frustration because we’ve been trying to get the word out for 20 years, the 20th anniversary, and yet there was still a woman there who didn’t know how to use the Baby Safe Haven Law,” said Dawn Geras of the Save Abandoned Babies Foundation, a Chicago nonprofit.
Some advocates have pushed for options for mothers such as baby boxes, which allow parents to safely deliver their newborn anonymously and without face-to-face interaction.
“We just need to make sure these women know these options are available so they can use them,” said Monica Kelsey, founder of the nonprofit Safe Haven Baby Boxes, which has installed dozens of these. baby boxes in states like Indiana, Arkansas and Florida.
Baby boxes are installed in the exterior walls of fire stations and hospitals, according to the organization’s website. When an infant is placed inside, an alert is sent to medical staff who respond within minutes.
Six babies have been placed in Safe Haven Baby Boxes over the past year. To date, approximately 4,300 babies have been released to Safe Haven locations.
Supporters say they just hope they can help prevent another death.
“I beg people listening to help us prevent the next baby from dying unnecessarily,” Geras said. “We can do this together, please help us spread this word.”
Chicago police said their detectives and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating the baby’s death.
No arrests have been made and no cause of death has been determined, police said.