The following are taken from policy statements, professional publications, mainstream media, and blogs. We have arbitrarily categorized them as United States (General), Individual U.S. States, and International, though a statement in one section may address baby boxes in other geographical areas as well.
United States: General
By attempting to save one theoretical life that we cannot account for, we reduce the quality of life for children who we can measure. We steal the rights of children we can see, count, talk to, and videotape if we care to. We take away their right to know where they came from, who their parents and grandparents are, what diseases they may have a family history of, and even their actual age and birthday. We steal from them the chance to ever know where they came from because we value the anonymity of the women who carry them more than the rights of the people those women created.—My Blog,The Destruction of Society by Baby Boxes, February 11, 2011 (web archive)
The proponents of safe havens and Baby Boxes most effectively answer criticism by saying their approach is worthwhile even if it saves just one baby’s life. I have an alternative suggestion: Let’s aim higher. Let’s conduct solid research, and then do the thoughtful planning and careful implementation. That way, we can develop policies that help women who face crisis pregnancies, prevent infant abandonment —and maybe, just maybe, save all the babies’ lives—Adam Pertman, President, National Center on Adoption and Permanency, Huffington Post, April 29, 2013.
Other dimensions of safe haven advocacy are downplayed when baby boxes are trumpeted as an exciting advance. One is the underlying anti-abortion and pro-adoption views held by vocal safe haven advocates, including [Monica] Kelsey. Further, the anonymity of the baby box drop-drop-off conceals any understanding of the experiences of women and girls who are faced with a safe haven decision. Unwantedness is not the only or the main factor that leads to relinquishment. …Instead of debating the value of baby boxes, state governments should direct attention to the unequal social and economic support available to women and girls within our society.—Laury Oakes, Chair, Department of Feminist Studies , University of California, Santa Barbara, Rebranding safe haven laws, fromthesquare.org, March 5, 2015
More recently, a clip from The Drop Box was shown at church. I can’t tell you what was said about it because I got up and walked out. My flight/fight/freeze mechanism kicked into high gear as soon as I realized what was on the screen, and I was walking down the aisle and out the door before I’d even decided if that was what I wanted to do. While I’m firm in my opposition to baby-boxes, I regret my reaction that morning.—W.P., Lost Daughters, November 12, 2015
It is hard to say this [baby boxes] is a bad idea, but it seems slightly misguided…I find it hard to imagine that immediately after delivering baby by herself in a bathroom, she is expected to know the law and get on a bus and into an Uber and drop it off.” —Professor Michelle Oberman, Santa Clara University School of Law; co-author of Mothers Who Kill Their Children: Understanding the Acts of Moms from Susan Smith to the ‘Prom Mom,’ BBC News, January 23, 2019
You don’t have the ability or option to have a conversation with this young woman to give her adoption options or the nucleus option (leaving the baby in the care of a family member) or relinquishment as a last resort,” So here you’re just taking a woman who can walk up and put up a baby in the box and yet not get the real help we can provide by having contact with her.—Tim Jaccard, Founder, AMT-Children of Hope; Founding member, National Safe Haven Alliance, US News, July 10, 2018
Safe haven laws and boxes. All of this is tied into how abortion is perceived, personal beliefs, religion.—Cheryl Meyer, Associate Dean, Wright State School for Professional Psychology; co-author of Mothers Who Kill Their Children: Understanding the Acts of Moms from Susan Smith to the ‘Prom Mom,’ BBC News, January 23, 2019
*Safe Haven Baby Boxes are anti-adoptee, anti-adoption, and anti-family. They are a direct attack on adoptee civil rights, fathers’ rights, and ICWA, and subvert the civil rights of adopted people current and future. They fly in the face of contemporary child welfare practice. Baby Boxes do not empower women and certainly not their abandoned children as they grow up. They trivialize pregnancy, commodify babies, and maintain adoption secrets and lies. Baby Boxes are promoted as an easy solution to very complex social and economic problems, and in the end, leave everyone behind. Certainly, there are better solutions—Policy Paper, Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization (revised April 23, 2021)
The foundation takes no position [on Roe v Wade], we believe that the child we’re dealing with has already been born.—Chicago Sun-Times, May 4, 2022
To suggest safe haven laws as the optimal solution, we are also ignoring the trauma of placing a child for adoption and the overarching effect that it will have not just on the birth parent, but current or future siblings, grandparents, and other family members. Adoption does not erase a child’s or parents’ genetic and biological desire to connect with not only their family members, but their culture as well. It does not erase the pain of a birth parent being separated from their flesh and blood. It does not negate the risk of pregnancy and birth complications that and Indigenous women are more likely to die from.— Melissa Guida-Richards, The Independent, May 7, 2022
Barrett tells us, chillingly, what is at stake: “[T]he choice . . . would be between . . . the ability to get an abortion . . . or the state requiring the woman to go fifteen, sixteen weeks more and then terminate parental rights at the conclusion.” Here again, she obscures the difference between a termination done to a woman and one chosen by her. For Barrett and her ilk, motherhood begins at conception and ends whenever the state sees fit.—Carolyn McConnell, Jacobin, May 2022
A woman who would kill her kid is not of stable mind, is not emotionally stable, and is not making good decisions,” Pertman said. “Well, I’m sorry, but a woman who is ready to kill her kid is probably not going to react to a sign on a bus and have her boyfriend drive her to the police station instead….We know every single woman who abandons or places her child for adoption suffers from trauma. This has lifelong implications and ramifications. We know that. And abandonment doesn’t address any of it. It just treats women like vessels.—Adam Pertman, President, National Center on Adoption and Permanency, Charleston Post and Courier, July 16, 2022
Safe havens were never intended to serve as an alternative to abortion. They were developed to offer an alternative to infanticide. — Katie Watson, Associate Professor of Medical Education, Medical Social Sciences, Obstetrics and Gynecology Feinberg College of Medicine, Northwestern University, CNN, August 9, 2022
If you don’t agree with safe havens, it’s like you can be accused of encouraging infanticide. — Carol Sanger, Barbara Aronstein Professor of Law, Columbia University CNN, August 9, 2022
The fixation on safe haven laws by some of the nation’s most prominent anti-abortion legal scholars punctuated their decades-long collaboration with safe haven activists, said Laury Oaks, a professor at University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of a book on safe haven laws and reproductive justice. The anti-abortion movement’s connection to safe haven laws is “so prominent… “Amy Coney Barrett very publicly connected the dots.” — , Laury Oakes, Chair, Department of Feminist Studies , University of California, Santa Barbara, CNN, August 9, 2022
“It’s really simple from a policy manner. It doesn’t require you to face hard questions about what we owe people most impacted by abortion bans. What are our moral obligations to those who might consider abortion because they can’t afford to have a child?”…Oberman said the majority of women who receive abortions are below the poverty line and the baby box option is not targeted to the women who may kill their newborns or abandon a baby to die after concealing a pregnancy.“It’s not the proactive profile of folks who are like, ‘Oh, got it. I know about the Safe Haven Law. I’m gonna hop on the bus and ride down to the box and pop my baby in,. No, these are folks that are so passive that they don’t make a birth plan.– Professor Michelle Oberman, Santa Clara University School of Law; co-author of Mothers Who Kill Their Children: Understanding the Acts of Moms from Susan Smith to the ‘Prom Mom,’ Idea Public Media August 11, 2022
And while many assume that women don’t wish to parent their babies out of causal, callous disregard, making the choice to place a child for adoption is a remarkably difficult decision for all parents. The emotional weight of such a decision does not disappear after closing the safe haven box, nor after walking out of the ER lobby having handed the child over — nor, for that matter, after even a well-supported, open decision to place a child for adoption. I know. I’m an adoptive parent with the gift of having been able to stay in contact with our children’s birth mother for 20 years. And while my wife and I will be forever grateful for the decision she made, we all also know that it was not easy — at that time and even beyond. I would like any parent choosing to place their child for adoption to have full access to counseling and support. A safe-haven box is not going to solve that.I’m troubled by the Supreme Court using a historically inaccurate assertion of a “modern” innovation to partially justify their decision — and also emotionally nullify the complex journey that any pregnancy can be. We would do well to recall that the medieval baby boxes were largely a reflection of the fact that pregnancy out of wedlock was considered shameful and not to be publicly visible or talked about. I’d like to think we’ve moved on as a society — but perhaps we haven’t. — Dr. Depesh Navsaria, Madison Cap Times, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. August 14, 2022
Adopted children in America and Italy describe how falsified documents and sealed birth records hid lifesaving medical information. Stripped of their birth identity—“I don’t remember signing up for the witness protection program,” one adoptee told me—they spent years on hopeless quests to find their birth mothers or to experience bittersweet late-in-life reunions. Using the tools of genetic genealogy, they desperately chase a ticking cloc…To many women, this scenario is one of unimaginable distress and degradation, a new mother so desperate and alone in the world that she hides from public view to deposit like a parcel ready for shipping the baby she has carried in her womb for nine months.— Maria L, Journalist,, author of The Price of Childen, The New Republic, August 23, 2022
If birth control and sex education were easily available in every state, if childcare was not as expensive or maybe, just maybe, women had the right to determine what they do with their own bodies, this would not be an issue. We don’t need more places to leave babies that are already born, and should instead focus on fixing the problem before it starts. Fix things so that we don’t have to worry about babies being abandoned. Expanding safe haven laws as a solution to a rise in unwanted pregnancies is only covering up the real problem. —Ren Sikes, University of Dayton News Flyer, August 25, 2022
The notion that we [pro-lifers]would be behind something that could leave a woman a year or two down the line feeling like they got exploited, that they got conned into ‘Put your baby in a box and slam the door’ and never knew about options that could have helped them raise their own baby … that is just morally and ethically wrong to me.–Chris Hicks, World, January 26, 2023
The media is full of stories that celebrate parents who surrender children as being “heroic” and “selfless,” but none of the articles mention how horrific it is that the birth parent may be hemorrhaging or suffering from a massive infection from having birthed alone, without access to medical care or trauma counseling. These women are not just incubators to complete other people’s families. And yet, because of the rollback of Roe, economists anticipate 50,000 additional unplanned or unwanted births annually. This means current U.S. laws are contributing to tens of thousands of traumatized families.– Lori Bruce, Associate Director, Center for Bioethics, Yale University School of Medicine, The Progressive, March 2, 2023
You can technically spare someone’s life (by putting them in a baby box) and yet still leave them in a lot of pain. And the thing is, it is unnecessary pain. It doesn’t have to be this way. We shouldn’t ever let it be, on purpose. There’s a better way. We do not have to leave people in the dark about who and where they come from. That should never, ever happen on purpose or be encouraged…We should not inspire or encourage women to drop their babies off in a box and scurry away. Quite frankly, that is barbaric. Some will say, “Well, it’s not as barbaric as an abortion.” Why do we need anything barbaric? We must to encourage people to do the right thing all the way around. And the right thing is definitely not to encourage women to run and hide from what they perceive as their problems. – – Dr, Deanna Schrodes, Director PF Women and founder/director Stronger Leadership Network Deanna Shrodes.com blog, March 9, 2023
If your legislative plan is not to fund contraception, and to ban abortion after six weeks, then a high-tech box goes right with it,” said Michelle Oberman, a professor at the Santa Clara University law school who studies the ethical issues surrounding motherhood. “A high-tech box is a piece, a system in which you view a win-win outcome as, you’ve got more adoptable babies. — Professor Michelle Oberman, Santa Clara University School of Law; co-author of Mothers Who Kill Their Children: Understanding the Acts of Moms from Susan Smith to the ‘Prom Mom,’ South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Aprli 8, 2023
Individual U.S. States
Some of you guys got really agitated the last time we talked about Safe Haven Baby Boxes. For the record, we’re not shaming parents for putting babies in those boxes. We’re shaming American society for teeing parents up for a scenario in which putting a newborn in a box built into the side of a fire station and hoping for the best is their most promising option. Sex ed, birth control, health care for new mothers, stigma-free adoptions and yes, even abortion access, should all be on the table as options, too.–Austin Bailey, Arkansas Times, June 1, 2023
In every situation where this baby box is used rather than direct surrender, we miss the opportunity to help a woman and to get a medical history from that woman for the future of this baby . . . . —Jerome Hurtak, attorney, board member, Gloria Silverio Foundation/A Safe Haven for Newborns; testimony before the Senate Health Policy Committee, Florida Politics, January 27, 2021
. . . Women who are trafficked, victims of abuse or otherwise vulnerable, being further abused by having their babies removed and disposed of in a box as a means to cover up their trafficking and abuse. These are the same women who may not have the ability to reclaim their child if they are being held against their will or threatened Legalizing abandonment can be used as a means to cover up crimes of trafficking incest, and abuse…—Elizabeth R. Berkowitz, Esq., Florida Adoption Council (Quad A), February 6, 2021
Sen. Lauren Book, a Plantation Democrat, worried that Baxley’s bill doesn’t spell out what would happen with infants after they are placed in the boxes and would allow the Department of Health to adopt rules for regulation of the boxes. There are custody issues, Book said.”— Florida State Senator Lauren Book, Florida Politics, February 9, 2021
Logical thinking would demonstrate that a woman trying to protect her child would much more be apt to hand her child to a person wearing a uniform or scrubs. Having eye-to-eye contact with a professional who is in the business of saving lives will indeed satisfy that mother’s instinctual desire to protect her baby. The box provides for none of that.—Kirk Zeppi, licensed mental health counselor, Bradenton, Florida, Florida Politics, February 9, 2021
Don’t you think it’s better that those services [to women in “crisis pregnancies”] be provided rather than a mother just dropping a baby in a box in the dark of the night?—Florida State Senator Gary Farmer, Florida Senate Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, Gainesville Sun, February 12, 2021
Passage of this bill would put a tremendous burden on the already taxed health care system and the first responder system, especially now dealing with COVID…Baby boxes are a 16th-century invention used by monasteries and convents. I think we’ve progressed out of the Dark Ages.—Joel Gordon, Deputy Chief Plantation Fire Department and board member, A Safe Haven for Newborns; Florida Senate Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, Gainesville Sun, February 12, 2021
To me, it just seems so sterile and so cold.—Janice Matos, Miami firefighter, Gainesville Sun, February 12, 2021
Book said she is unsure who would be held responsible if a box fails and a baby dies. Baby boxes are also not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration because it determined the boxes are not medical devices. “It’s pretty archaic, actually.”
. . . The bill does not get to the root of that issue, Book said. Improving sex education and ensuring women have access to reproductive health care, including abortions, would prove more effective and prevent a crisis for a mother before it happens, she said.
Book also said the law would only serve to make money for the vendor of the baby boxes. Safe Haven Baby Boxes, a non-profit in Indiana mentioned during committee meetings on the bill, owns a patent for the newborn infant safety device.
The last time I checked it was our responsibility as a legislature and as legislators to do what’s best for our communities, our constituents, not to make money for pro-life organizations, period–-State Senator Lauren Book, Orlando Sentinel, February 23, 2021.
What if the baby has been abused and the baby is in a box? You don’t know who the mother was.”—Joyce Bloshinsky, Nurse, CBS12, West Palm Beach, March 1, 2021
You identified that an alarm goes inside of the facility. If a tree falls in the woods and nobody’s there to hear it, did it really fall? . . . I would just point out to you that although fire stations may be manned 24 hours that doesn’t mean someone’s in them 24 hours. They do go on calls and aren’t there.—State Representative and Palm Beach Fire Captain Matt Willhite, Florida Politics, March 18, 2021
t is not an objection to giving the mother as many potentials as possible to help rescue and save these babies. It’s the box itself, and the way the box is administered, that gives us concern… Gordon said Kelsey’s boxes also don’t meet Florida public building safety standards and would allow those who have abused their newborn or kidnapped or trafficked the child a way to escape detection. — Joel Gordon, spokesperson for A Safe Haven for Newborns and deputy chief of the Fort Lauderdale suburban fire station, ABC News/ABC News April 12, 2023
We can do better than putting children in boxes. The safe haven law we have on the books currently is working…
,,,the box bill is part of broader effort by ((Governor) DeSantis and the legislative majority to impose conservative Christian morality on all Floridians, regardless of their personal beliefs.You can’t just look at this one piece of policy. You have to look at the whole of what is going on, and I’m just not going to stand for it– State Senator Lauren Gook, ABC News/ABC News April 12, 2023
We’ve looked at data from across the country and the boxes don’t get used readily,” Joel Gordon, who is on the advisory board for A Safe Haven for Newborns, said. “It is very rare that a baby gets put in a box. So, these things that are costly and cumbersome to put in, and possibly dangerous, really don’t have positive results. – – Joel Gordon, spokesperson for A Safe Haven for Newborns and deputy chief of the Fort Lauderdale suburban fire station, WPBF-TV, April 12, 2023
If a biological father wants to be in the life of their child this baby is now in the custody of the state and has no rights and knowledge that that baby has been surrendered or if they were even born. Florida Senator Lauren Book, WKMG-TV, May 12, 2023
While this may be well intended, it is misguided. It opens a Pandora’s Box and will have unintended consequences. . . . Baby boxes remove the chance for a mother to be offered medical care and supportive services.”— Dawn Geras, Founder, Safe Abandoned Babies Foundation (Illinois); Founding board member of the National Safe Haven Alliance, Chicago Tribune, March 3, 2015.
[The boxes imply] that what you’re doing is dark and needs to be hidden. You can’t show your face. You’re just escaping the scene of the crime. Our hearts go out to those moms. We want to make it easy for them. We want to reassure them . . . . It breaks my heart to go backward.—-Dawn Geras, Founder, Save Abandoned Babies Foundation (Illinois); Founding board member of the National Safe Haven Alliance, TakePart.com, May 18, 2016.
The CBA strongly opposes this bill because: It does not protect the rights of birth mothers and infants. It would pose significant safety risks to both birth mothers and infants. It is an extremely costly “solution” when Illinois law is already working well.—Chicago Bar Association (CBA), 2020
It just doesn’t sit well with me. I’m just not sure it’s a good thing to go down that road. I fight hard for the rights of children down here. That’s one of the main reasons I’m here. So I take it very seriously but I hate the idea that people can be so irresponsible that they can have a child and just drop it off in a box. Who would do that?”—Sen. Carlin Yoder, WSBT-TV, South Bend, March 17, 2015.
It’s important to note that a team of child health experts from ISDH carefully studied available research on newborn safety incubators and determined there are no standards or protocols that can ensure the safety of children placed in these devices.—Jennifer O’Malley, Indiana Department of Health, (quoted in Indianapolis Star, January 29, 2016; (waiting for copy of entire letter via IDOH records request)
One committee member, Sen. Liz Brown, R-Fort Wayne, expressed skepticism that women who’ve just delivered a baby would seek out the lone box that might be in a community, and noted that Indiana already has prorams in place to help mothers in crisis.—The Daily Mail,March 25, 2015.
Indiana would do well to follow Massachusett’s lead and do more to promote its Safe Haven law, but baby boxes shouldn’t be part of it. The governor should veto the bill. Editorial, South Bend Tribune (reprinted in Pharos Tribune, April 21, 2017).
I honestly couldn’t believe it when I read it. I thought it was a sick prank or something. It’s not. In fact, the Knights of Columbus are paying for the first 100 boxes to be installed in places where people are likely to enjoy the convenience of dumping their offspring. They seem very proud…I’m stunned. Baby drop-off boxes. Even animal shelters don’t have drop-off boxes – we couldn’t imagine treating an animal that way. Have we really come to this point – when life is respected and valued so little that babies are to be cast off in a drive-up box?—Dana Larsen, Storm Lake (Iowa) Pilot Tribune, May 5, 2016
We certainly shouldn’t make it easier for them [parents] to circumvent what is in the best interest of that child and not handing it over to a responsible adult is not in the best interest of that child…emotion often times rules where rationality should.—State Senator Jean Breaux (D-Indianapolis), South Bend Tribune, April 14, 2017
It’s just another extension in this state’s fanatical view of anti-abortion, when Roe v Wade is the law o the land. They would rather have a baby born and abandoned than pursue some alternative to that.—State Senator Breaux (D-Indianapolis), The Guardian, May 16, 2016
. . . there’s no evidence to suggest baby boxes are a safe or prudent way to surrender a child.”—Joint Statement by Mary Beth Bonaventura, director of the Indiana Department of Child Services, and Dr. Jerome Adams,WANE-TV, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, May 31, 2016 (waiting for copy of entire letter via IDOH records request)
Kelsey conveys deep sincerity about her project. But the concerns expressed by health and child-care professionals about the boxes should not to be dismissed. The boxes fill a need only if desperate young parents are not familiar with the ease with which they, or someone they ask to help them, can give up a child. The focus has to be on getting the word out about the Safe Haven Law through all forms of media, education and training.—Editorial, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, May 31, 2016
One major problem with boxes is that it removes the opportunity for a mother to be offered medical care and supportive services, which they are able to receive when a Safe Haven Hospital is involved. Statistics show that some 25 perent of parents who come to a Safe Haven, initially planning to use the Safe Haven Law, when given the opportunity to talk about options chose to either make an adoption or parenting plan. And what if a mother is in need of medical help and does not get it? What could happen? —Sherry Foushee, Guest Commentary, Munster NW Times, January 12, 2018
After careful consideration and research by city staff, the Columbus Fire Department administration and staff and discussion with medical providers, the city does not believe this is the optimal way of dealing with the surrender of infants…The Safe Haven Baby Box surrender does not allow us the opportunity to address those issues as the parent may leave the area before our medically-trained personnel would have an opportunity to conduct a rapid (health) assessment,”—Mary Ferdon, Columbus Executive Director of Administration and Community Development, Columbus Republic, January 17, 2019
I’m very much against this. I just think this promotes bad behavior. It would be safer for a woman to surrender her baby at a hospital as opposed to dropping off the infant in a box at a fire station. I don’t think we need to be in the baby business. I don’t think we need to be in the medical business.—Bob Caesar, City Councilman, New Albany, Indiana, New Albany News and Tribune, May 20, 2021
I honestly couldn’t believe it when I read it. I thought it was a sick prank or something. It’s not. In fact, the Knights of Columbus are paying for the first 100 boxes to be installed in places where people are likely to enjoy the convenience of dumping their offspring. They seem very proud . . . I’m stunned. Baby drop-off boxes. Even animal shelters don’t have drop-off boxes— we couldn’t imagine treating an animal that way. Have we really come to this point, when life is respected and valued so little that babies are to be cast off in a drive-up box? —Dana Larsen, Storm Lake (Iowa), Pilot Tribune , May 5, 2016 (web archive)
I can’t stop thinking about the safe haven baby box legislation in Indiana and how archaic and wrong-headed it seems to be. Wrong-headed that the state may not even know it has another citizen it is responsible for as babe’s guardian, as it’s optional whether or not to tell the state, or they can just contact an adoption agency when a baby is left in a safe haven box. When there is no documentation of the babe to even give to the state other than the baby was left in a safe haven box, let alone provide the merest bits of knowledge of where and who brought the babe into the world, they are just left with the fact they were left in a box to tell the child – it sure seems both archaic and dehumanizing at the same time. — TAO, The Adopted Ones Blog, February 28, 2023
At a hearing Tuesday, Rep. John Carmichael, a Wichita Democrat, expressed opposition to the 30-day time limit to reclaim a surrendered child. He said he was concerned the non-relinquishing parent could be unaware their child was surrendered — especially if they are over state lines — and therefore could lose their children if they do not file the necessary paperwork in time. “That baby will never know who its parents were because we facilitated that anonymous drop-off of children in boxes on the side of fire stations,” he said…\
Carmichael also expressed concern that a child could be kidnapped or taken over state lines and deposited in Kansas. “Anonymous drop-off boxes protect kidnappers, deny parental rights to the other parents, and I believe it actually endangers children,” he said. Rep. John Carmichael ( -Wichita) during floor vote in Kansas House February 21, 2023 quoted in Kansas City Star, February 22, 202
I really think that this is really important that we discussed here today is the reason why the UN Commission on rights to the child, and possibly other folks who have marked this legislation is that these boxes can be used by human traffickers to legally get rid of an infant, that their victims, has had. And so now we are giving human traffickers the cover of law, like they don’t want to go into a fire station because people might ask questions, they don’t want to abandon a baby because again people are gonna investigate and ask questions now we have given them a legal outlet to dispose of a crime, because it covers it up further down the road, and I’m very concerned about this, and that we don’t know if the 11 babies who have been left in these boxes are the children of human trafficking because there’s no way to figure that out. And so we have given them this outlet.—Susan East Nelson, JD, Executive Director, Louisiana Partnership for Children and Families, Oral testimony before the Louisiana Senate Health and Welfare Committee, June 2, 2021, (marker: 9:50)
While the bill is permissible, this legislation circumvents the best practice of a person-to-person hand-off for an infant being surrendered (followed by bullet points), Louisiana Partnership for Children and Families Information Sheet on HB218
I’m here today representing March of Dimes and just wanted to also state that March of Dimes is in opposition to this legislation. We do support Partnership for Children and Families, on this legislation on their concern about deviating from the person-to -person transfer for what this bill is proposing. The March of Dimes exists to improve maternal health and infant health. So we do stand in support of Susan’s advocacy with the organization just stating that this is just not something that is preferred and supported by the organization this particular mechanism of relinquishing the infant.— Frankie Robertson, Director, Louisiana March of Dimes, Oral testimony before the Louisiana Senate Health and Welfare Committee, June 2, 2021, (marker: 9:50)
Virtually every case of infant abandonment signals that a state’s health care and social service system has failed. Surely a well-functioning system would enable a person either to prevent unwanted pregnancy, to end it safely and early, or, if they decided to carry to term, either, to keep the child or to place it, again safely and swiftly, for adoption. Safe surrender laws are no substitution for comprehensive sex education in schools or family planning and sexual health services. They are not a substitute for postpartum depression treatment, stable and safe housing, or affordable childcare. As the committee considers this bill and the need for safe haven baby boxes, we hope it will also consider the myriad other ways that legislators could act to keep families together and obviate any need for the bill in the future.—Meagan Sway, Maine ACLU testimony, Joint Committee on Judiciary, March 17, 2021
I do not believe it is appropriate to allow for parents to surrender a baby by simply depositing the baby into a device, rather than physically handing the baby to a uniformed police, fire or hospital employee.—Gov. Rick Snyder, Veto Letter, December 27, 2018
While placing your baby for a safe haven adoption may seem like the best solution for your situation, it’s not always the best choice for your newborn baby. Because utilizing safe haven laws simply acts as the middle step before your baby is adopted, it’s better for you to directly contact an adoption agency, like A Child’s Hope, which can place your child for adoption right away and involve you in every step of the process…You can chose and meet your baby’s adoptive famikly, making sure they’re exactly what you want for your baby…because of the anonymity involved in safe haven adoptions, this is not an option for women whos choose safe haven. A Child’s Hope, (adoption agency), Winston-Salem Journal, February 10, 2023
It’s a slick way of circumventing the protections that are embedded in the adoption law.—Oklahomans for Open Records and Honest in Adoption, Letter to Oklahoma House Rules Committee, March 22, 2021
It costs a parent nothing to place a child for adoption voluntarily. Yet it provides the child with the assurance that he or she was important enough to be carefully placed, not unceremoniously discarded in a baby box-like human garbage. It ensures that the child who is to be adopted is provided with family medical history, and provides the option for the birthparent/s to get counseling as well future updates on the child’s welfare, too, if desired.—Elizabeth Jurenovich, President, Abrazo Adoption Associates, March 16, 2021.
Additionally, the safe haven boxes are legally problematic. Is the infant being surrendered
without coercion? Do birth parents realize they are terminating parental rights, and in some states
could be liable to criminal prosecution? Children abandoned anonymously have no information
on their origins or medical history, including drug use during the pregnancy…
…While in recent years government funding to religious groups for secular purposes through
neutral grant programs has been upheld, it is our understanding that this funding is coming
directly from the City’s budget at the request of a council member. It is also our understanding
that no other organizations were considered to provide the same services. In Wirtz v. City of S.
Bend, a federal court struck down a city’s donation of land to a religious school in exchange for
public use of athletic facilities that the school planned to build on the land. 813 F.Supp.2d 1051
(N.D. Ind., 2011).–Freedom from Religion Action Fund, Letter to Mayor Ron Nirenburg, San Antonio, Texas, September 6, 2023
San Antonio can and must do better than throwing money into fancy baby drop boxes. Rather, the solution is to provide better resources and social supports for those facing premature parenthood and unwanted pregnancies, and to better promote ethical nonprofit adoption programs that have served our community well for decades.–Elizabeth Jurenovich, President, Abrazo Adoption Services, San Antonio Express-News, September 7, 2023
I’m an engineer, so I get into the weeds of things. As far as what’s called a baby box or what actually is in existence, there’s really no standards for them. And passing an ordinance puts an onus on our inspector to enforce standards, which don’t really exist.”…
Hull said he believes putting a baby into someone’s arms when relinquishing the child is safer than relying on technology. He also said that when a child is dropped into a Safe Haven baby box instead of handed over to a first responder, the person who is dropping the child off loses an opportunity to get help from social services.
“It’s not that I’m against it. It’s just I think it’s kind of a ‘feel good’ thing right now because we really don’t know what would be on the other side of it even though we passed an ordinance. How do you make sure it’s safe?” he said.
Hull said he thinks the answer is educating would-be parents, not installing a baby device. — Chuck Hull, Chippewa FalLs District 4 alderperson,l LaCrosse Tribune, April 24, 2023
In terms of the UNCRC, there is much debate surrounding these approaches to child abandonment, and there is a significant lack of research regarding whether they actually save lives or encourage parents to abandon their children. Additionally, although the assumption is often made that it is the mother who leaves her infant at a baby hatch, there is increasing evidence that this is not necessarily true. It is frequently men or relatives who leave infants at baby hatches, which begs the question of what has happened to the mothers and have they consented to abandoning their children. Due to the anonymous nature of baby hatches, they carry with them several further implications. Firstly, children left behind in this way have no way of determining their family medical history. Secondly, the father‟s paternal rights are denied. Thirdly, the opportunity to place the baby in other relatives‟ care is completely removed, as there is no way of tracing the child‟s family. Child Abandonment and Its Prevention, Institute for Work, Health & Organization, University of Nottingham, 2012
Baby hatches don’t work because they fail to address the problem of concealed pregnancy, often a key factor in child abandonment and infanticide. Some women deny their pregnancy right up to the birth.
This is often linked to extreme fear of family or community reaction. After months of denial, the mother may be overwhelmed by the reality of the baby. Extreme panic can set in, inhibiting her ability to make a rational decision in her (or her child’s) best interests, sometimes with tragic outcomes.
Because of this, a better solution than baby hatches would be improving support services to vulnerable women and their children. Fewer children would be abandoned or killed if the problem of pregnancy concealment was addressed. Unlike adoption, babies relinquished to hatches can never be traced to their parents; the emotional cost of this should not be underestimated. —New Matilda, December 3, 2014
Following careful consideration of expert advice and a review of available literature, the NSW Government is not supportive of introducing baby boxes or safe haven laws. I am advised that there is no clear evidence that baby boxes are effective in stopping baby abandonment and infanticide. Similarly, safe haven laws have been criticized for increasing the potential for women to conceal their pregnancies and consequently to seek access to health care. — Letter from Jillian Skinner, MP, Minister for Health, NSW, to Sen. Helen Polley, Tasmania, May 17, 2916
Geographically few and far between in any case, the baby hatch seems to have more worth as a symbol of the views of those who wish to influence the debate on reproductive rights – in other words, as a pro-life stunt – than as a life-saving measure.— The Guardian, December 10, 2012
In Bulgaria, research found that the majority of parents do not want to abandon their children. However, when confronted with poverty, illness or social exclusion, they often make this decision, thinking that they are acting in the best interests of the child. In a study that interviewed 75 parents who had recently openly abandoned their children (aged 0-3) at a local institution, the reasons for abandoning the children included homelessness, lack of food, no heating during winter, and not enough nappies. Additionally, 41% of the sample already had four or more children in their family and felt that they could not afford any more. Child Abandonment and Its Prevention, Institute for Work, Health & Organization, University of Nottingham, 2012
The Canadian Council of Natural Mothers (CCNM) does not support the promotion or establishment of any laws that promote the anonymous disposal of babies or children. These laws are variously called safe haven laws, baby abandonment laws or baby dump laws. Those who support such laws believe that they save the lives of innocent babies. We disagree with their assumed results of these laws while supporting their intent, to protect babies from harm. Canadian Council of Natural Mothers /Consell des meres naturalies
Critics say that the baby hatches encourage mainland parents to abandon babies, which is illegal in China.––South China Morning Post, February 17, 2014
I had no money and we had problems with finding a place to live. My boyfriend was out of work and that was the problem. I basically left my baby thinking that I would come back for her later. I didn’t ever think that I wouldn’t see her again.—Aneta Tokarčíková. Radio Prague International, February 13, 2009
It is this too simple a process as mothers can defer to the newborn baby box, bothers some experts and pediatricians. “I call it life is disposable and actually produce any call for responsibility – for themselves, for their lives and for the child.”(Google translation) —Jaroslav Lukešová, pediatrician and director of the Children’s Centre Prague. Česká televise (Czech Television), March 11, 2009 (hard copyh on file)
A mother who kills a child does so in a moment of madness, in distress. But a mother who wants to put her child in a baby box has to act rationally. She gives birth, wraps up the child, and gets to the baby box. We already know that in Germany baby boxes had no effect in this respect. Here it is usually two to four children a year who are found dead and the number remains more or less the same. —Frantisek Schneiberg, chair, Czech Social Paeddiraic Society, Radio Prague, January 7, 2010
Baby boxes do not operate in the best interest of the child or the mother,”They encourage women to give birth in unsafe and life-threatening conditions… ust leave your baby, these boxes seem to say. I don’t think any community could send this message to any vulnerable person. Maria Herczog, child psychologist, sociologist, Committee on the UN Rights of the Child, Christian Science Monitor, July 6, 2012
The statistics show that the number of proved cases of newborn babies being murdered by their mothers has not changed in the past years. Since 2010, the police have revealed maximally one such a murder a year, except for 2003 and 2006 when three and two babies were murdered, respectively.” —Frantisek Schneiberg, Chair, Czech Social Paeddiraic Society, Prague Daily Monitor, November 2, 2015
“There are other options of how to give a child away in a more dignified way, such as anonymous birth. This option is always better for the child, because we know its medical history. In my opinion baby boxes support parents in acting irresponsibly and make it easier for them to get rid of their child. Also the mother doesn’t have a chance to reverse her decision. We know from experience that when she gives birth secretly in a hospital, she often changes her mind.”—Frantisek Schneilberg, former Minister of Health. BRNO Daily, August 27, 2020
In France and the US, the same people cry the dire consequences if anonymous abandonment is not permitted. The Church, showing little respect for women or understanding of crisis pregnancy, says women will kill their babies if they can’t abandon them with no blame, no shame, no name. Feminists, who should know better, insist that “maternal secrecy” is a reproductive right like birth control or abortion. No! Anonymous abandonment is not a reproductive right. A baby has been born, a person with a right to identity and heritage. The adoption industry declares that anonymous abandonment protects women and children. How does a system that not only encourages secrecy and government cover-up, but discourages prenatal and post- natal care protect women and children?–Bastard Nation’s Strasbourg Statement of Solidarity with Les X-en Clore, Bastard Nation, February 13, 2003 ((regarding Les Enfant X/Born Under X)
According to Claude Sageot-Chomel, president of DPEAO, an association which defends the rights of people to know their origins, the law persists because France is fundamentally a conservative country. He argues that the legislation is a way of “manufacturing children without any kin to suit the profitable adoption industry … There has been a huge amount of Catholic influence on the medical world to defend a woman’s right to give birth in secret”—. Claude Sageot-Chomel, president DPEAO, The Independent, August 7, 2011 (regarding Les Enfant X/Born Under X)
Ignoring where we come from, ignoring what becomes of the child we carried is a permanent suffering. Why then maintain against all odds a crazy law that drives people crazy? This is the question we ask.—Les X en Colere/Angry X (regarding Les Enfant X/Born Under X)
Germany’s baby hatches, which allow mothers to give up their children anonymously, have been called into question by the German Ethics Council, which has deemed them morally “problematic….”But on Thursday the Council said that the hatches, which parents have used to give up some 500 babies so far, should be closed because the most at-risk women fail to use them and they deny children the right to know their origins.m “The German Ethics Council suggests that pregnant women and mothers in emergency situations be aided as much as possible without damaging the rights of others – their children in particular,” a statement said. The organisation called for a renewed dialogue about how to improve prenatal social services for women.— The Local, November 27, 2009
We simply can’t continue this way,” the organisation’s leader Maria Elisabeth Thoma told daily Frankfurter Rundschau, adding that the legal concerns of the Ethics Council were convincing. She encouraged the German government to find a way to insure legal certainty for the mothers and children in such situations.—Maria Elisabeth Thoma, president, Catholic Women’s Welfare Service,(oversees 19 boxes), The Local, November 27. 2009
But critics say that the presence of baby hatches has not actually reduced infanticide in Germany and takes away a child’s right to know its origins…If you take a sober look, the number has not gone down nationwide,” said Michael Heuer, spokesperson for the German arm of child rights organisation Terre des Hommes…An estimated 30 to 40 babies die each year in Germany due to abandonment or infanticide. This number is believed to be relatively constant, though exact numbers are hard to define because infanticide no longer appears as an offence in the country’s criminal statistics…Baby hatches seem to be a choice that has not reached its target group,”… most women who kill their infants are acting out of panic and would not make the rational decision to safely deposit their child at a nearby hospital. —Michael Heuer, Spokesperson, Terre des-Hommes-Germany, The Local, April 8, 2010
[They] put the baby in the hatch, close the hatch — and their problem seems to be gone.] “In reality, though, only the child is gone, “The abusive partner, the drug addiction, the family, all those things are still there.” Most of the time, the woman’s troubles are even worse than before. because now she also has her own conscience plaguing her over the fact that she gave away her own child.” —Yvonne Fritzz, Director, Catholic Women’s Welfare Service (SKF), Geissen, Der Spiegel, July 12, 2012
Many NGOs and institutions use it as a cheap and populist solution to the problem of child abandonment/—Maria Herczog, child psychologist, sociologist, Committee on the UN Rights of the Child, Time Magazine, June 13, 2012
The central argument put forth by those who run baby hatches is that the facilities can save lives, yet there’s little evidence to back up that claim. Criminologists say the number of babies killed or abandoned by their mothers or fathers shortly after birth has not decreased since the introduction of baby hatches. In fact, another DJI study conducted together with the Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony concludes that the baby hatch service doesn’t even reach those women who kill their newborns…
Researchers examined 199 cases, between 1997 and 2006, of infanticide shortly after birth. They concluded that a woman who wishes to make use of a baby hatch must first know the location of the hatch and figure out how to get there. To do that, they must already have accepted the fact that they are pregnant. But “almost none of the women who committed infanticide” were capable of such planned-out action, the study concluded. Nearly all of them had repressed the knowledge of their pregnancies, and were taken by surprise when they went into labor. They panicked, and in the heat of the moment killed their children or simply abandoned them…
A number of child welfare agencies surveyed by the DJI expressed a suspicion that the aggressive degree of media coverage and advertising for baby hatches actually “creates a demand that wouldn’t exist if the service were not offered.” In other words, are the operators of baby hatches actually responsible for giving parents the idea of giving up their babies anonymously? — Der Spiegel, July 12, 2012
It is impossible to supervise baby hatches.And I don’t just mean in terms of the users, I mean in terms of the operators as well.” For example, fathers or other family members might leave difficult children in a baby hatch without the knowledge or agreement of the mother.” — Christine Swientek, criminologist, sociologist, adoption expert and retired unscheduled (adjunct professor) University of Hanover, Der Spiegel, July 12, 2012
We consider that baby boxes are dangerous because they don’t uphold childen’s rights or parental rights, and they promote the unsafe birth of children in the community rather than with medical and health support in hospital environments.” — Kevin Browne, director of the Center of Forensic and Family Psychology, Nottingham University, National Public Radio, February 18, 2013
The numbers of killed babies did not diminish. The numbers of abandoned children did not diminish. It is not right to life that is at stake here, but only probably a small, higher probability of saving a life perhaps…I think it is especially important to have in mind that women who feel that they cannot care for their child need the help of the society, and just putting boxes somewhere where they can relinquish their child is not really helping. — Christiane Woopoen, member, German Ethics Council, National Public Radio, February 18, 2013.
To know nothing about your own family can burden a child’s soul. In 1989, Germany’s Constitutional Court ruled that everyone has a right to know their parentage. Three years ago, the German Ethics Council criticized anonymous baby hatches, calling on the government to find a legal solution for pregnant women in emergency situations. Neither the baby hatches nor anonymous births – possible in 130 German clinics – operate on a legal basis. Both are merely tolerated..The baby hatch is the worst possible thing you can offer a woman and child,” There are not even any statistics as to how many children have been given up. —Monkia Bradna, German Youth Institute, Munich, Deutsche Welle, December 3, 2013
Please spread the word, NO BABY HATCHES, its the worst thing to happen on a human being. No identity, no self estime, no past, no healthy future, no roots, no health history……—Roots Research Center–mission possible, no baby boxes, Facebook, Apil 4, 2014
Currently, if you leave anonymously your baby in any other place than a baby-saver incubator, you will be searched and if caught, severely punished. If you do the same in an incubator, you are free to walk away, nobody will inquire after you.”
The rights of the child, she says, are “severely harmed”. “He or she will never have a chance to know her/his birth mother, her/his health history, or siblings,” she said.—Szilvia Gyurko, Children’s Rights legal expert, UNICEF Hungary, The Guardian, June 11, 2012
The baby hatch is an easy and comfortable ‘solution’ for the state, instead of providing a comprehensive set of policies, services to prevent abandonment. Currently, the system is serving first and foremost the interest of the prospective adoptive parents, who are usually well situated middle-class families, while at the same time indirectly assumes that these birth mothers are irresponsible and unsuitable for motherhood. — Maria Herczog, child psychologist, sociologist UN Children’s Rights Committee, The Guardian, June 11, 2012.
Studies in Hungary show that it’s not necessarily mothers who place babies in these boxes-that it’s relatives, pimps, step-fathers , fathers. Therefore the big question is: are these baby boxes upholding women’s rights, and has the mother of that child consented to the baby being placed in the baby box? Recent times, the main drive, we think, for the use of baby boxes is where a mother is an illegal immigrant or an illegal worker, and therefore is frightened to go to a maternity unit or a hospital. It can be an outraged grandparent that has stolen the baby from the mother and it putting in the bby box, or an outraged relative. It could be a sex worker or a pimp. — Kevin Browne, director of the Center of Forensic and Family Psychology, Nottingham University, BBC, June 26, 2012
They [baby boxes] send out the mistaken message to pregnant women that they are right to continue hiding their pregnancies, giving birth in uncontrolled circumstances and then abandoning their babies. —- Maria Herczog, child psychologist, sociologist, UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, BBC, June 26, 2012
While there is limited information on the fate of the babies after they are handed over to
the scheme, according to information gathered during fieldwork, the mortality of babies surrendered to the CBS in the first phase was about four times higher than the state’s female infant mortality rate (IMR) (CASSA, Cradle Baby Scheme, position note, May 2007). Furthermore, it is feared that the scheme feeds into a child trafficking network.–Economic & Political Weekly, June 5, 2009
The concept of a “safe haven” is at the best notional, not something we can apply to the Indian context. Safe Haven laws anywhere don’t justify laws against abortion.—Dr. Arundahi Misha, consultant gynecologist at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital New Deli, NewsNine, May 3, 2022 (ardcopy on file)
(After toddler was shoved into “stork’s nest” (baby box) by his father.) The revelation of the boy’s age Tuesday triggered outrage among political leaders, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saying that “anonymously throwing out a child is unacceptable.” He urged parents to consult social workers for help if raising children gets too tough. — Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, Washington Post, May 16, 2007
The purpose of the baby hatch is to support single mothers who have no support and who cannot raise their children for some reason. I think it shouldn’t be used to drop off handicapped babies. I, as the parent of a handicapped child, think the hatch makes people feel easy about abandoning handicapped kids.”—Kaoru Matsumura, head of an unnamed association for parents with handicapped children, Japan Today, April 19, 2008
The baby hatch was originally supposed to provide parents with a choice in the extreme situation when they can’t raise their children. But now, it has become a matter of whether they want or don’t want to raise their child. I have no idea why some parents left their handicapped babies in the hatch. But if they left the babies just because they don’t want to raise them, they should be reprimanded.—Moreover, women are “encouraged to give birth in unknown circumstances” because they receive no support.— Obstetrician, Japan Today, April 19, 2008
Those fathers and mothers who anonymously give away their child [to the Baby Hatch] will not have my forgiveness.”—Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (2007), Metropolis, September 24, 2020
…what this means is that the children being left there aren’t babies who would’ve otherwise died on the street or been flushed down the toilet (as people like to sensationally argue), they are the children who would’ve been relinquished legally and ethically through an adoption agency or been raised by the mother herself if this babybox wasn’t being praised throughout the media as it is being). to people who say that without this babybox, babies in korea would die – that if there wasn’t the ‘humane’ option of abandoning a child in the babybox offered by the church, these women would just leave their baby to die on the street – i say: that opinion is couched in the deep stereotypes against unwed mothers and as someone who has worked for many years with both unwed mothers and parents who have lost their children to adoption, i don’t believe that. i believe that if the church didn’t give them this option (which is painted as a saintly deed by the church and a mother’s ‘final act of love for her child’ in the korean media) that these women would either 1) realize that maybe they have the right to raise their child or 2) choose to go through the proper, ethical procedures for the adoption of her child NOT leave them to die in the street. this line of thought is based on the notion that these women are inhuman, moral-less women who are just trying to get rid of their baby in any way possible. again, as someone who actually works with unwed mothers on a close, regular basis—i don’t accept this line of thought.—peaceshannon, Tales of Wonderlost, January 20, 2015 (Tumblr account required)
Stop the blind support of the babybox. While I’m sure the intent is good, in the end, it does more to exacerbate the social problems that essentially force single moms in Korea to give up their children. The answer is NOT to make it “easier” for women to abandon their children, but to give them a TRUE choice to raise them. —- peaceshannon, Tales of Wonderlost, January 21, 2014 (Tumblr account required)
*Baby boxes have found a resurgence in Korea, and adult adoptees are speaking out against them, saying that abandonment is not a solution when family preservation could and should be the priority…
Around the world, children enter into care leading to adoption in many ways. One is “baby boxes.” These are actual boxes into which babies can be placed, the door then closing and a bell ringing to let the people on the other side know that a baby is there. Baby boxes have been around since medieval times, it turns out, when (it’s safe to say) few social services existed for babies whose parents could not care for them, whether due to social stigma, poverty, or significant medical or other reasons.
The increased use of baby boxes in Korea has become a source of concern, even outrage, for many Korean adult adoptees and their allies. —Maureen McCauley Evans, Light of Day, January 21, 2014
Surprisingly, the Christian faith is about love and the family unit, but all too often, “family” means a man, a woman and the child with no exceptions. In the Korean society this has been taken to the extreme by choking the financial life from a single mother. It is her punishment. The Christian Baby Box works much like the Catholic convent in the Philomena Lee story with people of God separating children from their mothers, demonizing these mothers and shaming them. The Baby Box only reinforces a stereotype of women—Rosita, Lost Daughters, January 24, 2014
So let’s celebrate, and ask Babybox supporters to support unwed moms raising their own kids instead. Mothers who really do want to send their children for adoption may do so legally and ethically by first registering the births of their children; they no longer need to worry about employers finding out their secret. Mothers who send their children now might be found later, and even then, they may keep their children a secret. Adoptees are not default stalkers and it is ludicrous to think that a baby is already a criminal from whom the mother needs protection.—Calamity Jane, the Expat Insurance Lady in Korea. TRACK (Truth and Reconciliation in the Adoption Community of Korea), May 21, 2015
The babybox is a system that allows and encourages child abandonment and is harmful in that way. KoRoot wishes to see initiatives that are centered around family preservation
KoRoot trongly believes that foundling rooms are the wrong direction for society and we wish that governments and people honour the rights of children to know who their parents are.
The dark sides of these foundling rooms is also that they lower the principles and standards for parents to be responsible for the life created and offer a way out even if the parent had not thought of it by themselves. So far monitoring the numbers, the babybox has not dropped the numbers of infanticide but did increase a number of parents (or maybe their grandparents or…) to relinquish their child.—KoRoot, Facebook, May 26, 2016
Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) commissioner James Deva Nayagam said the incidences of baby dumping nationwide demanded a rethink of the government’s strategy“Do you expect a girl from a rural area with a newborn baby to travel all alone to a baby hatch set up in a place far away?” he asked.—James Deva Nayagam, Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, Malay Mail Online, November 2, 2015
But the baby hatch is far from a neutral measure, and the discussion around them has been couched in anti-choice rhetoric – unsurprising, since this debate is essentially one about how to deal with unwanted pregnancy. Kowalczyk’s statement that “we have a duty to protect life at all costs” and Caritas Poland’s assertion that “life is a fundamental value and its defence takes precedence over other laws” make the pro-life undertones of this controversy clear.—The Guardian, December 10, 2012
Pavel Astakhov, Russia children’s rights ombudsman, said in March that he had written to prosecutors with a request to investigate baby boxes. “A box for a child contradicts not only a series of Russian laws but also moral principles,”—Pavel Astrakhov, Children’s Rights Ombudsman. Moscow Times, May 12, 2015 (
The primary and only argument of baby box supporters is that this box can save a baby from dying. Lobbyists believe that parents who do not want to take care of the child will just leave him or her in a baby box. I believe that such boxes make it too easy for parents to give up their children.—Vitaly Zolochevsky, Duma Member, LDPR, RAPSI News (Russian Legal Information Agency), July 7, 2015 (quoted from Isvestia)
The idea about installing “Windows of life” in Russian hospitals officials perceived differently. For example, the Ombudsman under the RF President on the rights of the child Pavel Astakhov sharply against “baby boxes:”:in March 2015, he appealed to the General Prosecutor with a request to deal with this initiative, which, in his opinion, contradicts Russian laws and moral principles.
Lawmakers from the nationalist party LDPR have proposed a law banning the practice of so-called “baby boxes”–containers that allow parents to anonymously leave unwanted newborns at hospitals or orphanages…Vitaly Zolochevsky has prepared a bill that would punish those who “install or use specially-equipped facilities for anonymous abandoning of the underage children” with fines of up to $500,000 (about US $7,500) or correctional labor with restrictions on travel for up to two years….Zolochevsy told popular daily Izvestia that he sought to outlaw baby boxes because they practically encourage parents to give away their children by offering a simple and safe way to do so…Experts noted that anonymously abandoning babies violates the Russian Family Code, which reads that any person has the right to know his or her parent.—RT.com, September 7, 2015
Three months later, with the bill [to legalized baby boxes} yet to be debated, children’s ombudsman Pavel Astakhov filed a request with the Duma that the bill be abolished. “There are no easy solutions, least of all containers for children to be dumped anonymously. Baby boxes do not deal with the root causes of the problem.”—Pavel Astakhov, Children’s Ombudsman, Moscow Times, March 31, 2016
Rather than trying to legalize baby boxes, authorities should concentrate on the prevention of unwanted pregnancies. “Create programs for preventing unwanted pregnancies, promote birth control and give it for free to the most vulnerable groups,” Yerofeyeva says. “Authorities always like easy options, and baby boxes are exactly that.”
Others believe the focus on baby boxes obscures the real issue. Often mental issues are at play, says Lyubov Yerofeyeva, a gynecologist, family planning expert and head of the Population and Development NGO. “They kill not because they don’t know where they can leave their babies, they kill just because,” Yerofeyeva told The Moscow Times.
Rather than trying to legalize baby boxes, authorities should concentrate on the prevention of unwanted pregnancies. “Create programs for preventing unwanted pregnancies, promote birth control and give it for free to the most vulnerable groups,” Yerofeyeva says. “Authorities always like easy options, and baby boxes are exactly that.”——Lyubov Yerofeyeva, Director, Population and Development; gynecologist, family planning expert, Moscow Times, March 31, 2016
“There is always a bigger crisis behind the abandonment, and a baby box doesn’t solve it,” says Yelena Alshanskaya, head of the Volunteers to Help Orphans charity foundation. “A plastic box solves one aspect of a critical situation, but the difficulties that forced the woman to abandon her baby in the first place don’t go away,” she says.
Women who use baby boxes often make life-changing decisions on their own, without consulting psychologists and family planning specialists. “We know nothing about the woman. What if she is depressed? What if she hangs herself a month later?” Alshanskaya asks. “Instead of baby boxes, we should be concentrating on providing counseling for women who find themselves in trouble.”—Yelena Alshanskaya, Director, Volunteers to Help Orphans. Moscow Times, March 31, 2016
My bill stipulates for a ban on anonymously abandoning children after their birth and on the creation of special places for [such a purpose] – so-called baby boxes. The bill introduces administrative responsibility for any legal entity that creates conditions facilitating the abandoning of newborn infants, organizes such abandoning or allows it in its rooms and buildings,” Mizulina said on Wednesday at a press conference called for the presentation of her draft.
Russia’s infanticide rate has dropped from 149 to 72 over the past 7 years, falling by 10 percent on average every year. The trend has not been affected by the baby boxes, but by a radical change in government policy towards the family, procreation and children’s education, Mizulina said.—Yelena Mizulna, Senator, Russian Council, RT, June 1, 2016
Mizulina, a senator on the Federation Council, claimed that the boxes could lead to the growing number of abandoned babies and a greater risk of child trafficking. She also raised concerns for the children left in the boxes, who would be unable to trace their biological parents.—Yelena Mizulna, Senator, Russian Council, RT, June 1, 2016
Statistics show no relationship between killing newborns and setting “windows of life”. There are regions where baby boxes are located, there is no decrease in the murder of newborns there. But there are regions where there are no baby boxes, but the decrease is ongoing. This indicates that they are not a deterrent.”—
“If we analyze the condition of those children who were found in different regions in baby boxes, it cannot be assumed that any of them became a victim saved from murder. That is, all the children looked cared, they were wrapped in something, some of them were with notes, tearing the soul. That is, this is not the behavior of a mother who wants to kill her child. This is the behavior of a person who is in a very crisis situation that has led him to the fact that the only way out for him is to leave the child somewhere. But not kill! These are two different things,” Alexandra Marova , Director of the Foundation for the Prevention of Social Orphanhood, Pravmir, October 12, 2020
The baby box takes away any form of responsibility of the biological mother to care for the child and further disregards the future role and responsibility of the biological father,” Letter from Gauteng Department of Social Development to Baby Savers South Africa , closing boxes in that province. quoted in Johannesbuarg/Capetown Mail & Guardian, October 31, 2023
It is fundamental importance, for the mother herself but also for the baby, to have access to all health services, before, during, and after birth. Basic conditions should be ensured in which she can be cared for and supported from the medical, psychological and social point of view—Sen. Lilane Maury Pasuier, swissinfo.ch, January 7, 2014
Baby boxes are a short-cut response to a much bigger problem, and do not deal with any of the underlying reasons that babies are abandoned. Instead of setting them up, governments should concentrate on giving women choice and control over having children. We would oppose their introduction in the UK.. In the long run, they are not good for mothers or children.-
There is a powerful degree of emotion-without-reason being involved–pushing for the adoption of these devices with the aim of saving newborns.—Simon Wright, Head of Child Survival, Save the Children, Daily Mail, July 7, 2012
Updated October 31, 2023