The Safe Haven Baby Box Blitzkrieg continues to rip through Indiana—and other states.
Today SHBB blessed (that means opened) its newest box in Westfield outside of Indianapolis. (#51 in the state). Since the campaign began in 2016, 9 babies have been stuffed into baby boxes for safekeeping—8 in Indiana (5 this year) and 1 in Arkansas.
In addition, 3 boxes are located in Ohio with a fourth scheduled to open soon, probably in Delaware County, north of Columbus. Another box will open soon in Rogers, Arkansas. Yet another is scheduled to open in Oklahoma, but no details have been released. State web pages in Indiana and Ohio do not advertise baby box use or locations and probably won’t. The Indiana Department of Health opposed the SHBB campaign, and I am a little unclear still how the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services reacted. I recently filed a records request with ODJFS to tell me more.
Next Week Florida Welcomes Its First Safe Haven Baby Box
When I heard that Florida will open its first box next week I was surprised. Earlier this year SB 864 and its House companion, an attempt to legalize Baby Boxes, died when Lauren Book, chair of the Senate Health Policy Committee refused to let the House bill, which landed in her committee after it passed the House 117-2, be heard in committee just before the session closed for the year. I submitted a letter to Book as soon as I learned she had the bill. A Safe Haven for Newborns, the state’s Safe Haven advocacy organization, testified against it in the House. The National Safe Haven Alliance also opposed, but I don’t know if it or other organizations or individuals opposed officially. A close inspection of the Florida Safe Haven law, language, however, now shows that boxes did not need to be “legalized” to be installed, a problem for many of us fighting Baby Boxes. My guess is that when the original Safe Haven laws were drafted it never occurred to anyone that Baby Boxes, which pretty much died out in the 19th century, might return in the 21st.
Monica Kelsey, founder, and president of SHBB has refused to reveal the location of the Florida box. It’s not like she hides from publicity, but she doesn’t want Baby Safe Haven Resident Crazy Mike Morrisey phoning around the state, calling her names, accusing her of fraud, demanding she be arrested, and insisting that authorities shut down the box before it opens. And yes, he will do that. Morrisey once called the cops on me for opposing Safe Haven laws and allegedly threatening, on the old newsgroup alt. adoption, to kill or at least harm his wife over Safe Havens. (I have a copy of the police report). Morrisey is currently under an extradition order from the State of Indiana since he refuses to pay a $40,000 judgment against him brought by Kelsey for slander, defamation, interference with contracts, and harassment. And, he owes a lot more for continuing to harass her after the judgment came down. I’ve lost count, but there must be at least 200 instances of Mad Mike running his mouth on radio call-ins, and rattling- on in newspaper articles, and comments, and social media. Morrisey, in fact, has a long history of cranking on anyone who opposes his “agenda”–whatever it is. After he got bored with me, but before Kelsey came along, his target was the National Safe Haven Alliance, which he co-founded, and was later booted from or left before the boot bounced him. He spent well over a year bombarding NSHA and individual members threatening a hostile takeover that included replacing the board with teenagers of his choosing. He is not helpful.
I have an educated guess about the location of the new Florida baby box but I will keep my trap shut for now. We’ll know soon enough—and surely it won’t be the last in the state.
The Future of Boxing
Kelsey envisions at least one box in each state by 2025. She says right now she is looking at about a dozen states. Hard targets include North Carolina, Michigan (which passed a law that was vetoed in 2018 by then-governor Rick Snyder), California, and New York. If she goes into New York she will run headlong into Tim Jaccard and AMT-Children of Hope, a major Safe Haven player with a lot—a lot—of political juice. He’s been a vocal opponent of baby boxing for years.
This year, several states had SHBB bills in the hopper, but they died, some early, due to Covid shutdowns. Illinois Rep Sara Feigenholtz (just elected to the Illinois Senate) killed the session’s bill and says she will croak any bill that comes back to Springfield. Elsewhere, bills killed or stranded this year will certainly return next year,.However it plays out, we will see a lot more bills and boxes. I look especially to Georgia, where SHBB ally, The Hope Box, has been pushing boxes with legislators, and New Mexico, where the law must be changed before boxes can be installed.
Join me this coming Tuesday, November 17, at 8:00pm EST when I join Gregory Luce and the Adoptees United gang on Zoom for the Adoptee Rights Town Hall where I’ll be discussing Baby Boxes and prospects for Adoptee Rights in 2121.
For more information on Safe Haven Baby Boxes see Bastard Nation’s Comprehensive Statement on Baby Boxes. I also have an independent Stop Baby Safe Haven Drop Boxes Facebook page.
For more information on Mike Morrisey, pour yourself a triple Lagavulin and type his name in the Daily Bastardette search engine. I’ve written about him extensively.
Originally published in The Daily Bastardette on November 13, 2021
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