Bastard Nation has faxed the following letter to Gov. Linda Lingle. Lingle vetoed a similar bill in 2003.

May 22, 2007

The Honorable Linda Lingle
Governor, State of Hawai`i
Executive Chambers
State Capitol
Honolulu, Hawai’i

RE: HB 1830: Safe Haven/”Safe Place for Newborns”—Please Veto

Dear Governor Lingle:

Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization urges you to continue to reject enactment of so-called “Safe Haven laws” in Hawai’i and to veto HB 1830.

Bastard Nation agrees whole-heartedly with your June 20, 2003 veto statement in which you assert that “legalized abandonment” subverts hanai and traditional Hawai’ian family practice and values. “Safe Havens” endanger all families.

There is no epidemic of newborn abandonment and neonaticide in Hawai’i. Even “Safe Haven” proponents admit this. An archive search of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin indicates that since 1996 there has been one reported prosecutable newborn death (manslaughter in Koloa, Kaua’i) and no reported cases of unsafe newborn abandonment. What need then is there to legalize newborn abandonment when illegal abandonment doesn’t happen?

The mechanistic anonymous “Safe Haven” system of infant abandonment rejects the long-standing Hawai’ian cultural practice of extended family care. Moreover, HB 1830 rejects informed consent and best practice standards of child welfare such as the collection of a full record of identifying information and social and medical histories for children surrendered for adoption. HB 1830, with its promise of parental anonymity, eliminates the right of identity to those “surrendered” through “Safe Haven” programs, by denying them access to their original birth documents and heritage information.

HB 1830 denies parents–particularly non-surrendering parents (usually the father)–their right to due process by eliminating their ability to locate the dependency proceeding to which they are a party. HB 1830 replaces professional best practice standards with unprofessional and unethical “non-bureaucratic placement” by letting parents abandon solely for convenience or out of ignorance. The law preys on parents who honestly believe they are surrendering their child for adoption instead of providing evidence to be used in a dependency hearing at which they have a right and duty to appear. The law encourages parents literally to default at their hearings.

There is no evidence that “Safe Haven” laws have decreased unsafe abandonment or saved lives. A 2005 survey of county coroners in California, for example, found that the number of newborns dying from abandonment and neglect since 2001 remained at 13-15 per year in that state despite a well-publicized “safe haven” law.

Unfortunately, “Safe Haven” proponents have convinced legislators and parents that there are only two options: The Dumpster or the “Safe Haven.” The responsible alternatives to baby dumping are not mentioned: family care and communication, counseling, public assistance, temporary surrender, and permanent surrender for adoption, That omission keeps new and potential parents ignorant of real solutions.

Why “fix” something that isn’t broken—especially when the fix trivializes baby abandonment by presenting it as just another consumer choice? No blame. No shame. No name.

Anonymous baby dumping is not an acceptable cultural practice in Hawai’i now. No law should make it acceptable for the future.

Please veto HB 1830.

Bastard Nation is the largest adoptee civil rights organization in North America. We are dedicated to the recognition of the full human and civil rights of adult adoptees. We advocate the opening to adoptees, upon request at age of majority all government documents which pertain to the adoptee’s historical genetic and legal identity, including the unaltered birth original birth certificate and adoption decree.


  1. Great letter! And so true about Hawaii not needing this legislation.I hope Gov. Lingle sticks to her guns on this one.

  2. Great letter, Bastardette.

    Geeze, Anonymous, don’t you know that anonymous opinions are worth zilch?

    In 2003 Gov. Lingle said,
    “I now believe that any good that might be accomplished by this bill is likely to be outweighed by the harm that it would cause.
    I am concerned, for example, that the individual dropping off the newborn would not be required to prove that she is the baby’s parent, or have to provide even minimal information about the baby. This could jeopardize the child’s health and make it exceedingly difficult for the extended families, or the child’s father, to learn of the baby’s whereabouts and to assert their interests in caring for the child. The abandoned baby would be prevented from ever learning about its medical and genealogical history.”
    In Hawai’i, the extended family is commonly recognized as an integral part of the nuclear family, and the Hawaiian cultural practice of open adoption called ‘hanai’ is still common practice. it violates the constitutional right to the free exercise of religion of an individual and a religious hospital that provides emergency care.
    This bill could have an adverse impact on such support systems.”

    Gov. Lingle is a woman with the courage of her convictions. She was right then, and I trust she’ll be right this time around too.

  3. i think she will. Bastardette I have great connections to hawaii, my ancestors are hawaiian, and I have many cousins and relatives there, including my mother who I found no thanks to sealed records. If i can do anything to help this, please contact me.

  4. As stated previously, the Morriseys are banned from posting on The Daily Bastardette. All of the “deleted comments” on this page appear to be posted by them or their agents, so they have been removed.


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