As seen elsewhere on the site, SHBB Inc is heavily supported and funded by Right to Life and similar organizations, the Catholic Church, Protestant fundamentalists, and culturally and politically conservative groups. These organizations, through their opposition to reproductive rights, promote adoption as an alternative to abortion, thus creating a larger adopted population. Simultaneously, they loudly oppose the civil right of this same adopted population to obtain their original birth certificates, court and agency records, and other information about themselves and their biological families.
They lobby against adoptee rights bills in state legislatures, arguing essentially that if a 47-year-old adoptee obtains their OBC now some future fantasy woman will seek an abortion to hide her dirty little secret later—the idealized grateful adoptee “saved from the dumpster.” (Or, an ungrateful homewrecker as the case may be).
Of course, this is all theater. Adoptees and “desperate mothers” are nothing more than dehumanized props used to create a utopian abortion-free world. Pregnant people that carry to term are not abortion-minded. Biological parents and potential adoptees and the already-adopted are simply co-opted and exploited—nails to be pounded unmercifully by “pro-lifers” hammer.
Some ideas on how the Dobbs decision will impact adopted people, adoptee rights, and adoption reform
Journal of Adoption and Culture, November 2022- Advanced Access
The idea that Safe Haven laws and now Safe Haven Baby Boxes “prevent” abortion is absurd, and most Safe Haven advocates admit this. For them, Safe Haven laws, at least in theory, are post-birth measures to prevent discard and possible neonaticide. Due to 24/7 “anti-abortion propaganda, however, it is impossible to separate Safe Haven from abortion since both movements are tied at the hip, invested in “baby saving.” SHBB Inc, with its forced birth leadership history, refers to itself as a “pro-life ministry” with all the abortion baggage that term carries. Law Professor Carol Sanger detailed this relationship between anti-abortion and Safe Haven in her foundational 2006 Columbia Law Review article Infant Safe Haven Laws: Legislating in the Culture of Life.
Now, let us introduce you to The Justice Foundation, (TJF, formerly the Texas Justice Foundation) led by Allan Parker, and its attached ministry, Operation Outcry, reportedly funded in large part by Dr. James Leininger, a rightwing Texas bagman, whom Molly Ivins called “God’s Sugar Daddy.”
TJF, claimed as far back as 2003 that Safe Haven laws negate the need for abortion since women can now “release their newborns to the community” legally (and for free!)–as if historically relinquishing a child for adoption was illegal. Over the last 20 years starting in Texas, TJF has filed numerous suits and amicus briefs–all rejected– as a basis for overturning Roe v Wade. Two years ago it issued a press release advising women caught in Covid chaos to consider anonymous abandonment rather than be “coerced into an emergency abortion.” Any woman considering an abortion could actually contact TJF and be advised on how to utilize anonymous abandonment and at the same time attain public assistance, including Medicaid, which under any other circumstance TJF considers Big Government tomfoolery.
Parker’s cranky SH-Roe argument has not been taken seriously until it appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, (as far as the general public is concerned) when US Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, brought up the Safe Haven “abortion alternative,” during oral arguments in Dobbs v Jackson–the suit that may overturn Roe. The Justice Foundation had, in fact, filed an amicus in the case, and Coney Barrett was listening.
Traditional Save Haven advocate organizations, but not all, may fall into the anti-abortion camp, but they do not subscribe to TJF’s radical Safe Haven argument. They have been open that they do not want to be dragged into the abortion sinkhole. Like adoptees, they demand, “Leave us alone!” Even SHBB Inc seemed to be put off by Parker’s Covid press release.
We do not intend to delve into the abortion issue deeply here, but the connection between baby boxes and spurious abortion claims needs to be addressed. Monica Kelsey, founder of the SHBB movement has been clear that if Roe falls, which she hopes it does, boxes will be needed more than ever to “save babies.” More boxes mean that adoptee rights advocates will have a harder time pursuing genuine gains.
Below are a few links regarding The Justice Foundation’s decades-long peculiar argument as well as some commentary about it.
Chronology of TJF attempts to use Safe Haven Laws to overturn Roe v Wade and its companion Roe v Bolton
- Justice Foundation. History in the Making. “Roe” files motion to Re-open Roe v Wade, June 17, 2003
- “Roe” Appeals Roe v Wade to the Circuit Cout of Appeals, LifeSite, July 18, 2003
- Case to Overturn Roe v Wade Advances as Appeals Court Names Three-Judge Panel,, Lifesite, February 24, 2004
- “Roe” Requests Supreme Court Overturn Abortion law, Lifesite, January 19, 2005
- Doe vs. Bolton Case Not Over Yet Says Justice Foundation, Lifesite, October 12, 2006
- Justice Foundation. Press Release, December 18, 2014
- In America’s heartland, three federal appeals courts to rule soon on significant abortion cases Lifesite, February 2, 2015
- Parker, Allan. There’s No Reason to Kill Babies in Abortions, Thanks to Safe Haven Laws, LiveNews.com, October 7, 2019
- Justice Foundation. During Pandemic, Safe Haven Should Be Used Instead of Abortion, April 20, 2020
- Video: What is a Safe Haven Law? How will it help end Abortion in America? (Allan Parker explains how Safe Haven Laws make abortion unnecessary)
- Baumer, Leanna, How Safe Haven Laws Make Abortion Unnecessary, The Signal, April 28, 2022 (straight out of TJF)
TJF Documents – The 1st attempt and current attempt Nothing has changed.
- Rule 10 Motion for Relief of Judgment, McCorvey v Wade, US District Court for the Nothern District of Texas, Dallas Division, June 17, 2003. (1st attempt to overturn Roe with Safe Haven law)
- On Writ of Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for other Fifth Circuit. Dobbs v Jackson.
The Justice Foundation Caught in the Act!
Expect more of this when Doe falls! May 224, 2022, Louisiana Senate Judiciary Committee A. Cynthia Collins, TJF/Operation Outcry’s Louisiana head testifies against HB 450, a bill to restore the right of all Lousisia-born adoptees the right to obtain their Original Birth Certificates. The bill passed 4-2 despite Collin’s frets, and heads for a floor vote It already passed the House. (Video clip courtesy of Greg Luce)
News and Commentary – Before Dobbs v Jackson Decision
- Bagshaw, Joanne. Adoption Is Not a Solution for Abortion. Psychology Today, May 22, 2019
- Daily Bastardette. Attention Women! Covid-19ed Up? The Justice Foundation wants you to Safe Haven your Baby, June 19, 2020.
- Specter, Emma. Adoption Isn’t the Solution to Abortion, No Matter What Amy Coney Barrett Says, Vogue, December 2, 2021
- Carmen, Irin, Amy Coney Barrett’s Adoption Myths. “They’re co-opting
- I Was Adopted. I Know the Trauma It Can Inflict, New York Times, December 3, 2021 (paywall)
- Sisson, Gretchen and Jessica M Harrison. What We Get Wrong About Adoption, The Nation, December 7, 2021
- North, Anna. Why adoption isn’t a replacement for abortion rights, Vox, December 8, 2021
- Kloecker, Thomas Hailey. Justice Barrett gives the finger to poor mothers with her notion of Dickensian “Fair Haven” laws, Daily Kos, December 11, 2021
- Lithwick, Dahlia. The Horrifying Implications of Alito’s Most Alalrmng Footnote, Slate, May 19, 2022
- Trivedi, Shanta. Apparently We Don’t Need Abortion Because of Adoption…”or Whatever,” Ms. December 24, 2021
- Talbot, Margaret. Amy Coney Barrett’s Long Game, The New Yorker, February 14, 2022
- Joyce, Kathryn. Adoption means abortion just isn’t necessary, SCOTUS claims: That’s even worse than it sounds, Salon, May 3, 2022
- McGovern, Terry and Malia Maier. Comment: Threat to Roe v Wade sees state power used to control women’s bodily autonomy, Irish Examiner, May 4, 2023
- McConnell, Carolyn. “Safe Haven” Laws Are Key to the Right’s Push to End Women’s Right to Abortion, Jacobin, May 7, 2022
- Hauck, Grace. These adoptees refuse to be ‘political props’ in the debate over abortion rights, USA Today, May 13, 2022
- Joyce, Kathryn. High-tech surveillance in post-Roe America: Chilling new report outlines possible future. Salon, May 24, 2022
- Landesburg, Cynthia. Opinion As an adoptee, I know: Adoption is not a fairy-tale answer to abortion, Washington Post, June 20, 2022
News and Commentary – After Dobbs v Jackson Decision
- Hodgson, Shawna. More Women Will Die If Texans Don’t Speak Up for Women’s Bodies, Texas Observer, June 24, 2022
- Gregg, John. My Turn: ‘I Was Adopted Months After Roe v. Wade, I Wish Abortion Had Been an Option for My Birth Mom’, Newsweek, June 29, 2022
- Heidelberger, Cory Allen. Noem’s New State “Life” Website Not Entirely Helpful for Pregnant Women, Dakata Free Press, June 26, 2022
- Chung, Nicole. When you can’t find the words, The Atlantic, June 28, 2022
- Garlinghousae, Rachel. As an Adoptive Mom, I Can Tell You This: Adoption is Not the Magic ‘Answer’ to Abortion, She Knows, June 28, 2022
- Heidelberger, Cory Allen, SD Abortion Laws on Mother-Child Relationship Imperil Safe Haven” Adoption Law, Dakota Free Press, June 29, 2022
- Ross, Andrea. I Was Adopted Before Roe v. Wade. I Wish My Mother Had Been Given A Choice, HuffPost, June 30, 2022
- Corsentio, Tony. Reproductive Emancipation: Why I favor intersectional adoptee rights advocacy, July 3, 2022
- Levy, Pema. When Abortion was Illegal, Adoption was a Cruel Industry. Are We Returning to those Days? Mother Jones, July 5, 2022
- Bansinath, Bindu as told by “Alma.” I was Adopted by Forced Birthers, The Cut, July 8, 2022
- Yam, Kimmy. Adoptees who publicly support Roe targeted by anti-abortion activists: “What if you were aborted?” NBC News, July 10, 2022
- St. James, Emily. Why adoption won’t fill the gaps of a Roe-free America, Vox, July 14, 2022
- VIDEO GBH News. Abortion Decision and Adoption. Jim Braude interviews Adam Pertman (National Center on Adoption and Permanency) and Aimee Seiff Christian (Writing Person: For Adoptees)
- SC safe haven law lets parents give up their babies. Will more be surrendered post-Roe?, Charleston Post and Courier, July 16, 2022
- In a “God Moment,” Kentucky Church Raises $60,000 to Fund Unethical Safe Haven Baby Box Social Experiment, SHBBN!, July 23, 2022
- Fasy, Kristin. Adoption Will Never be the “Solution| to Abortion Bans. Take it from Me, an Adoptive Mom, Pure Wow/Yahoo August 2, 2022
- Goldstein, Dana. Drop Box for Babies: Conservatives Promote a Way to Give Up Newborns Anonymously, News York Times, August 6, 2022 (paywall)
- Chapman, Isabelle and Daniel A Medina. Conservatives have pushed infant safe haven laws as an alternative to abortion. But few American women use them, CNN, August 9, 2022
- Cook, Erin. In a post Roe v Wade world, are Baby Drop Boxes the answer? Body +Soul, August 9, 2022
- McCormack, Olivia. Being adopted has shaped their views on abortion–in different ways, Washington Post, August 10, 2022 (paywall?)
- Sheridan, Jill. An unconventional solution to abortion restrictions: Leave a baby in a box, Ideastream Public Media, August 11, 2022
- , Lenzen, Cecelia, Can adoption replace abortion? Experts say it’s a lot more complicated than it sounds, Texas Tribune, August 12, 2022
- Navsaria, Dr. Depesh. Opinion | ‘Safe-haven’ boxes are not an abortion ban solution, Madison Cap Times, August 14, 2022
- Laurino, Maria. Safe Haven “Baby Boxes” Are a Medieval :Horror Show,The New Republic, August 23, 2022
- Sikes, Ren. Opinion: Are Baby Drop Boxes a realistic option for giving up newborn babies anonymously? University of Dayton Flyer News, August 25,2022
- Listen: Finally! A Critical Media Discussion on Safe Haven Baby Boxes without Baby Boxer Agitprop, StopS afe Haven Baby B oxes Now!, September 29, 2022
- Safe haven laws and the surrendered infants in US, BBC World News, November 19, 2022
- Vasquez, Tina. Reproductive justice must include adoptee voices. Prism, November 28, 2022
- Vasquez, Tina. Reproductive justice must recognize adoption as violence. Prism, November 29, 2022
- Things to Think About. Adoption and Culture Pre-publication Articles on Adoption, Abortion, Reproductive Justice, Dobbs. Daily Bastardette, November 23, 2022
- Oberman and Clara Lewis. Wildly Inconsistent Safe Haven Laws Put Surrendered Infants, Parents at Risk, Chicago Tribune, January 15, 2023
- Bruce, Lori. “Baby Boxes” Aren’t a Solution to Roe’s Appeal. The Progressive, March 2, 2023
- Guttmacher Institute, Pregnant People in the United States Seeking Abortion Do Not See Adoption as an Alternative, Guttmacher News Release, March 2023
- As abortion ban looms, Florida may soon authorize “baby boxes: for unwanted infants. South-Florida Sun-Sentinal, April 8, 2023
- 800-Year Old Method of Surrendering Babies Sees Revival Light of Abortion Ban Bill. Miami New Times, April 11, 2023
- Florida fight over “baby boxes” part of bigger culture war. Associated Press/ABCNews, April 11, 2023
- Baby Love Child. Adoption is Absolutely a Feminist “Issue” An “Issue” Feminists” Must Face, Baby Love Child, July 29, 2011 (with lots of good links in it)
- Briggs, Laura. The Danger of Forced Pregnancy, Bill of Health, Petrie-Flom Center, Harvard Law, May 9, 2022
- Doughney, Michael and Lauren Sabina Kneisly, Four Themes of Biblical America, Biblical America Resistance Front, 1998
- Guida-Richards Roe v Wade: I’m an adoptee–adoption is not a “simple solution to abortion. The Independent, May 7, 2022
- Merritt, Michele. The False Choice: Adoptee Voices in the Fight for Reproductive Freedom, Bill of Health, Petrie-Flom Center, Harvard Law, May 9, 2022
- Oaks, Laury. Giving Up Baby: Safe Haven Laws, Motherhood, and Reproductive Justice, New York University Press
- Oaks, Laury. Safe Haven Laws and Anti-Abortion Politics. Bill of Health, Petrie-Flom Center, Harvard Law, May 10, 2022
- O’Dowd, Peter. If Roe falls, adoption may become “replacement” for abortion., One adoptee argues it shouldn’t. WSHU-FM (NPR), May 20, 2022
- Orbey, Eren.An anti-Abortion Abortion Activist’s Quest to End the Rape Exception, The New Yorker, December 5, 2022 (Rebecca Kiessling is a long-time associate of SHBB Inc founder and CEO Monica Kelsey
- Seymore, Malinda. Adoption and the Meaning of Consent, Bill of Health, Petrie-Flom Center, Harvard Law, May 10, 2022
- Sanger, Carol. Infant Safe Haven Laws: Legislating in the Culture of Life. Columbia Law Review, May 2006.
- Sisson, Gretchen. Adoption, Family Separate & Preservation, and Reproductive Justice. Bill of Health, Petrie-Flom Center, Harvard Law, May
- Solinger, Rickie. Beggars and Choosers: How the Politics of Choice Shapes Adoption, Abortion, and Welfare in the United States.
- Solinger, Rickie. The Racialized History of Adoption Practice, Petrie-Flom Center, Harvard Law,
- Swanson-Kyrico, Angie. A Birthmother Reflects The Perpetuation of Adoption Myths
- Students for Life America Has Plans for Adoption and It Doesn’t Include Adoptees, Daily Bastardette, November 10, 2022
Moral Panic! We need to saturate our culture with adoption propaganda, Feed the childless! Would you rather have been aborted? How about free baby boxes and free adoptions?
- Levine, John. Critics blast NYT article regarding adoption more traumatic than abortion. New York Post December 4, 2021
- Samuels, Arlene Bridges, Resetting the arc of our nation with the adoption option, Christian Post, June 27, 2022
Saturday Night Live, Weekend Update, June 7, 2022
*The term “pro-life” will appear sparingly on this site, and then in quotation marks unless it is part of a direct quote from an independent source.
Updated: June 9, 2023