“Anti-abortion authorities are touting ‘baby boxes’ as an alternative to abortion. Who uses them?” was the topic of the September 22 edition of Studio 1A broadcast from WAMU, the NPR outlet in Washington DC. And what a treat it was! An actual informed discussion on baby boxes, newborn abandonment, and the politics of both.
And Best! Notably absent–finally–were SHBB Inc founder and CEO Monica Kelsey and her sometime minions who hog the media like they’re the Kardashians. That alone is reason to rejoice! An actual sane discussion without yappy propaganda, paranoia, cooked stats, and thoughts and prayers. I haven’t seen any public grousing from their side, but they like to keep the slightest criticism on the down-low. Adoptee criticism especially is black-holed.
Guests whom I am friendly with in real life were Laury Oaks, professor/chair of Feminist Studies at UC Santa Barbara and author of Giving Up Baby: Safe Haven Laws, Motherhood and Reproductive Justice, (a book I highly recommend); and Gretchen Sisson, research sociologist with the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the UC San Francisco; author of the forthcoming book Relinquished: The American Mothers Behind Infant Adoption (January 2024).
Two other guests, whom I did not know, but would like to know, were Jill Sheridan from WFYI-FM who covered the baby box movement in Indiana, and Jaden Edison, formerly a writer for the Texas Tribune and now the justice reporter for the Connecticut Mirror.
The only criticism I have is the failure to include anyone with boots on the ground in this battle. Academics and reporters can do good work, but those of us impacted personally and politically by baby box laws and their consequences are essential to any discussion. This is an adoptee rights issue–and it is dangerous and ugly.
That aside, I hope you take the time to listen to this broadcast. In all my 22 years of fighting this Safe Haven fight, this is by far the best discussion and deconstruction I know.
When I have time I will pull out some quotes and add them to our resource quote page. Unfortunately, there is no transcript. I am also posting a link to this blog on a couple of other pages here.