We are as usual behind and have a lot to say regarding the end of 2023 and the beginning of 2024 . But let’s start to catch up with this.
Today’s Catholic Times posted an article about the re-opening of the Sunbury,Ohio /BTS&G Fire District baby box that was shut down by the state in 2022. The box was initially closed due to mechanical problems but remained deactivated when the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) ruled that the site (along with some others) did not comply with state law that required locations to be staffed 24/7.The law was changed to include unstaffed facilities after SHBB Inc and its cultish evangelical friends campaigned ODH nearly daily with emails/phone calls hectoring and harassing the department to rescind its decision or otherwise work out a plan with SHBB Inc to amend the law. Some callers reportedly went so far as to phone up ODH and accuse the agency of Satanism, a tactic SHBB Inc rejected as unhelpful, but in theory agreed with. Most of this Theatre of the Absurd tomfoolery is covered here
As a result of this beat-down-the-state self-aggrandizing crusade, an amendment to destaff box locations (HB109) sponsored by rightwing Republican whackadoodles* Rep. Jean Schmidt (Loveland) Rep Adam Mathews (Lebanon) that went nowhere, was snuck into the 9,212 page Operating Appropriations bill, which of course, passed easily into law without a hearing or a second thought. The original SHBB bill snuck through in a similar way. Locations that utilize video-monitored systems that alert off-site personnel when a box is used now qualify as safe and legal locations under state law. For the record, since 2019, 11 boxes have been placed and are active in Ohio, but none have ever been used.
The CT article is not particularly controversial except for a curious claim from Mrs. Kelsey. She said that in the last 8 years, 133 babies have been shuffled off to adoption oblivion through her company’s efforts. How she knows this number is, of course, a mystery, since it’s hard enough to get concrete official figures on safe haven cases from state agencies much less information on who facilitated the transfers, which might not even be known.
While that personal credit is questionable, it’s the way Ms. Kelsey made her claim that is really weird and dishonest:
This also means 133 sets of parents have been saved by being able to hand over their children anonymously, safely and lovingly in crisis situations.
Sets of parents?
While it takes 2 to make a baby, it only takes 1 to dump it.
Traditional safe haven and radical baby box “options” are almost always NOT used by couples. Mrs.Kelsey in fact, likes to brag that baby boxes “empower women.” No men need apply.
Even the most cursory observer of the SH movement, especially the box movement, knows that abandonment boxes are marketed to and used by single mothers “in crisis,” who for whatever reason–and often manipulated– believe that they have no other choice than to anona-dump their newborns. Baby boxes are baby-hiding machines. Most often the father is out of the decision-making process, ignored or ignorant of the pregnancy and birth. Their rights, along with the rights of the baby, are tossed in the dumpster, to create a fairytale ending for a family tragedy.
But to cover the other base, Mrs. Kelsey also suggests that women who use boxes are in a domestic crisis (read: domestic violence and related forms of patriarchal control) that they (or Mrs. Kelsey) perceive will lead to the abuse, discard, or death of babies at the hands of recalcitrant men (or perhaps other family members). This can be true, but sticking a baby in a box in-the-wall does nothing to make that abuse go away. It can make it worse.
So in a weird way, boxes ARE marketed to men who do not want the responsibility of a baby or a mothering woman, and are attracted to the idea that the problem child can be solved away in a “safe and legal manner,” while at the same time, they can continue their control or later walk away, leaving the mother to handle the personal lifelong consequences and the child to grow up secretized and fucked up.
There is no way that SH or SHBB can be marketed to men who claim the “authority” to dump their own babies without the mother’s consent especially when those mothers are under psychological, emotional, and physical duress and even danger. Nobody will call the cops on them. Nobody will promote baby boxing as “male empowerment.” There is no ethical or nice way these guys will be fawned over and valorized for their bravery. At best SHBB Inc, its incurious media , and the ignorant and overly sentimental will mask them with the veneer of “baby saving.”
Safe havening and baby boxing are not a family affair.
Ohio Republican Whackadoodles
Jean Schmidt is a long-time Ohio nutcase. There are many stories about her. Here are 2:
- About 10-12 years ago when she was a member of Congress, Schmidt was a lunch keynoter at an annual National Council for Adoption conference in WDC that I attended. She suggested that relinquishment should be encouraged by offering women a federal tax credit. This was even too much for the conservative adoption industrialists. We all sat there and looked at each other. Finally, one agency executive stood up and told her that most relinquishing moms do so because of economic factors–low income. They didn’t make enough money to be eligible for a tax credit. Rep Schmidt was shocked I tell you. Shocked! The rest of us snickered.
- Schmidt is a radical forced birther. and president of Clermont County Right to Life. In 2022, speaking before the Ohio House Government Oversight Committee about her no-exceptions abortion ban trigger bill, she said that a 13-year rape victim should look at pregnancy and birth as an “opportunity. “Seriously! It’s is a shame that it happens, but there’s an opportunity for that woman – no matter how young or old she is ― to make a determination about what she’s going to do to help that life be a productive human being. … That child can grow up and be something magnificent, a wonderful family person, cure cancer, etc., These remarks made national and international news. You can read the entire quote here. The article also includes a video of her testimony.
Adam Mathews is another forced birther and is involved with local anti-abortion groups. Notably, he is a member of the Federalist Society. He is not only the former Lebanon, Ohio city council member who pushed through the SHBB installation (FS#41) he is also the main proponent of the successful banning of abortion within the Lebanon city limits , even if it is legal in the state, through passage of J6 insurrectionist Mark Lee Dickson’s Sanctuary City for the Unborn law. The ACLU and a citizen/merchant group attempted to remove the ordinance. I don’t have the time right now to research, but I think it is still in place.