A couple of days ago, Safe Haven Baby Boxes, Inc opened Box #116 in Radcliff (Hardin County) Kentucky. The box blessing was short and nothing particularly notable happened except for the special guest appearance of Nancy Tate, the rightwing Republican Senator from nearby Meade County and the chief architect of SB 155 that legalized boxes in the state. During the campaign, she referred eccentrically to the bill as providing “parents who may be at the end of their rope of safe options to save the life of their child.”
What does this even mean? Has St. Jude’s stopped taking critically ill children? More ominously, is someone in Kentucky forcing parents to kill their newborns? If so, that sounds like a matter for the police not a bunch of Indiana evangelicals and their hoodwinked fanbase.
Senator Tate apparently forgot or never knew that the original purpose of Safe Haven laws was to prevent neonate discard or murder within around 24 hours of birth which happens usually in rare cases of concealed pregnancy and birth. The laws were never intended to be an after-the-fact legal workaround for abusive or neglectful or lazy parents “at the end of their rope” as the professional baby box propaganda team wants us to believe.
My point today, though, is not the misuse of language or to discuss the original intent of Safe Haven laws. Nor is it to criticize Senator Tate for showing up for the box blessing. Pols do it all the time, and after all SB 155 was her bill and the box is in her district. It’s oh! what she said. (Speech begins at 8:50; quote at 10:30)
And if you think about it, we’ve got 120 counties in Kentucky. And as far as I’m concerned, there’s absolutely no reason for us not to have 155 Safe Haven boxes in Kentucky. And I will not stop until we have that at least 155 boxes.
Kac-ching! 155 X $16,000 = $2.48 million in private grassroots donations, That’s a lot of money for Kentucky’s poor districts to ante up voluntarily even if their hearts are in it. In 2020 the poverty rate in the state was 16.9% with some counties suffering at nearly 40%.
Senator Tate’s demand, though extravagant is nothing like what Monica Kelsey, founder and CEO of SHBB Corporate put forth for the entire country that same day.
In an off-mic interview that is not part of the box blessing video, Mrs. Kelsey told Andrew Harp, a reporter for the Elizabethtown News-Enterprise:
. . . in the next few months the organization will reach 130 baby boxes installed. Her goal is 200 baby boxes installed by the end of the year.
200? What? Where?
Several states have passed laws legalizing box drop-offs. To Mrs. Kelsey’s dismay, however, some such as Pennsylvania, have made little effort to implement guidelines and regulations, since lots of actual child welfare professionals in state governments don’t like them. Indiana DCS fought box implementation to the death and now avoids publicizing them as much as possible.
Mrs. Kelsey keeps the imminent opening of new locations closely guarded until a couple of days before a box is blessed, so it’s hard to know. According to news reports and social media chit-chat, however, likely states to open new boxes soon are Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee, and probably Arkansas and New Mexico.
Eighty-two new boxes by the end of the year sound pretty off kilter. That’s four a week! Since Mrs. Kelsey gives her canned spiel at every baby box blessing her travel expenses would fly through the roof. Maybe a Winnebago Forza 34T would help.
I don’t know why this 200 figure astounds me, since Mrs. Kelsey has always said: “50 by ’25.” That is, by 2025 every state would have at least one Safe Haven Baby Box, but that is sure a lot less than Senator Tate’s 155 (minus the already 12 operating) in Kentucky.
Be prepared! I will soon publish a chart of endangered city and state locations where threats of baby boxes have been reported.