We have been waiting some time now–but not with bated breath–for Safe Haven Baby Boxes to arrive in Oklahoma. Not the law. That passed over two years ago, but the actual physical box or boxes. According to Fox 23 in Tulsa, we can expect a happy arrival in the early part of 2023.
All we can say is: it’s about time! We were starting to get worried! Did we imagine something? Even before the passage of the law, fan folks were chattering on Facebook that they had locations lined up, financed, and it was a done deal. As usual, Mrs. Kelsey, who likes to keep the suspense running, has not announced the location, only that the contract is signed. Will the first box be in Tulsa?
I don’t know, but the article says that the Tulsa City Council has approved two boxes for the city. It looks like they want to make sure that poor people have equal access to legal baby abandonment protection:
One box is in a fire station in a busy side of town next to a major hospital, and the other is in a side of town with completely demographics where a mom may not have the resources or need to ever travel to the other side of town to use the other box.
Under Oklahoma’s traditional safe haven law, babies up to 30 days of age can be dropped off. Mrs. Kelsey, seems to imply in the article, though, that that age restriction isn’t adequate. Does she mean that parents need more than 30 days to decide if parenting is “right” for them? That safe haven laws pressure parents to decide early? I dunno. I’m old, and I remember when drive-by parenting was discouraged. Unthinkable. Condemned.
But Kelsey said safe haven laws are not enough, and many time[ sic] it puts additional pressure on a mother already in a desperate situation.
“This is the most profound thing I’ve ever heard a mother say. She said the reason why I didn’t place my baby in the arms of a firefighter and I chose to use the baby box was because I didn’t want him to talk me out of a decision that took me so long to make,”
Mrs Kelsey also complains that safe haven laws and Safe Haven Baby Boxes are getting dragged into the abortion debate.
“We’ve never said we were an abortion alternative, and we don’t want our cause to be painted as one,”
Funny thing, since safe haven laws have been in the “pro-life” playbook since the early 2000s, and it wasn’t abortion rights or adoptee rights activists who wrote them in. It was her own side. (See collection of The Justice Foundation material here.) Then, SHBB Inc and Mrs. Kelsey, whose active opposition to abortion predates her baby box movement, have never been long on history, even their own.
Oklahoma’s two adoptee rights organizations– Equal Access Oklahoma and Oklahomans for Open Records and Adoption Honesty opposed the passage of the state’s baby box bill