The following is the text of a June 24, 2016, email from Monica Kelsey, CEO of Safe Haven Baby Boxes Inc., to Dr. Jerome Adams, then the Indiana state health commissioner (he later became the US Surgeon General).
From: Monica kelsey <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: June 24, 2016 at 9:36:26 AM EDT
To: “Adams, Jerome” <JeAdams@isdh.IN.gov>
Cc: “McGrath, Danielle” <DMcGrath@gov.IN.gov>, “Miller, Eric A” <EriMiller@isdh.IN.gov>, Corrine Purvis <email@example.com>, Walter Peycha <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Pam Hood <pann,email@example.com>, “firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com>, “firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com>, Joe Kelsey <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: HEA 1016 Inquiry
Reply-To: Monica kelsey <email@example.com>
Thank you for responding to my previous email as I know you are very busy and adding this to all your duties must be exhausting.
As we discussed while sitting across the table from you back in May, the position of Safe Haven Baby Boxes and the way we operate, fit within the spirit & letter of the Indiana Safe Haven Law. This is pointed out in the letter sent by our attorney, dated May 3, 2016. I have included a copy for your reference.
Just because the term “baby boxes” isn’t stated in the law, does not mean they can’t be used. Baby Drawers are not mentioned in the Arizona Safe Haven Law, but AZ DCS and AZ DOH stand with these hospitals who have them. Did I mention during our meeting in May that these baby drawers in AZ have saved 10 babies and not once has a mother been prosecuted?
Praise be to God as these children grow up loved and adopted instead of being found in a dumpster.
You state that Safe Haven Baby Boxes could “endanger” a newborn that is placed in the box. Now if you had laid eyes on my box personally or seen safety records or schematics I would have taken this more seriously. But with all due respect Dr. Adams, your accusations and mischaracterizations about something you have never seen (no one on your staff has seen) and know nothing about is unwarranted, ignorant (in the purest meaning of the word), and just plain wrong, not to mention unethical. At this point all of your actions as Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Health are calling your ability, judgment, or both into question.
Regarding legislators being satisfied with your handling of HEA 1016, I am re-sending a letter that State Representative Casey Cox sent you in January of 2016. This clearly states he is not satisfied with the way you have handled this and must I remind you that Rep Cox was the author of this bill. You have dodged your duties and took one word out of the bill and twisted it to your satisfaction, as an excuse to avoid obligation under the law. That is just plain wrong and unethical.
Thank you for the referral to the FDA and the CPSC. Our attorneys are handling this situation, as I’m not up to date on these laws. However, since you are concerned, I have included a quote from our attorney given to the associated press last week concerning the FDA and CPSC being involved in our program.
“It seems to imply that everything in America is regulated by some government. Actually, freedom is the norm, not government regulation. I understand that government bureaucrats see freedom as a “regulatory gap” to be closed, but they are wrong. He don’t think there is any state or federal law that regulates the baby boxes so there are not federal bureaucrats to deal with.” Jim Bopp Jr
In regards to the letter I sent you on June, 17, 2016 I am copying a portion of my letter on this letter as I think you missed the reason for my last email.
“I would like to offer my help in obtaining the requirements that HEA 1016 set forth last year and offer my research and time to make this happen. Please let me know if this is something that the Department of Health is willing to do.”
If I read your last email correctly Dr. Adams, YOU ARE NOT INTERESTED IN COMING TOGETHER AND WORKING WITH SAFE HAVEN BABY BOXES FOR THE BETTERMENT OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN THIS STATE. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
I will restate: We would like nothing more than to combine our efforts with Indiana Department of Health to help more women access resources and hope, to save their lives and children, who are at risk of abandonment. Safe Haven Baby Boxes has been directly involved in 4 babies who were SAFELY surrendered under the Safe Haven Law and since we have received over 700 calls on our hotline from women across this state and this country, working together with the Department of Health would only benefit these women more. We stated at the May meeting we will slow down our efforts after these next two boxes go in to allow time for the Department of Health to fulfill their obligations concerning HEA 1016. I will offer my research and time to make this happen, but time is running out for you and the Department of Health to act in good faith. Its disheartening that you are taking the stand against working with us on this bill, when you are being provided resources and services for free that even you stated you lacked.
Just a quick heads-up that the press contacted me yesterday about the letter you just sent me on Weds June 22nd, and to keep the press updated on facts I’m going to copy them on this letter as well.
Personally, I would like to keep these matters between the DOH and Safe Haven Baby Boxes closely held until we reach an agreement that is satisfactory for all of the stakeholders, but since you want to keep the press involved, I will comply with your wishes.
Thank you for all you do for the women and children of this state, but it is inadequate for someone of your education and stature. We expect more.
Until there are no more abandonments,
Safe Haven Baby Boxes Inc.