December 9 the lame duck Ohio House voted unanimously (92-0) to amend the state’s “safe haven” law. The Senate had already approved the measure in May. A record of the votes in both houses is here

SB 304 expands the age infants can be “legally abandoned” from 3 days to 30 days, moving Ohio from the low to close to the high end of the traffick scale. It also adds an “educational” component, authorizing the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) in collaboration with the Ohio Children First Cabinet Council, to create a program “for informing at-risk populations who are most likely to voluntarily deliver a child under [appropriate sections of the Ohio Revised Code.]” Translation: every female over the age of 9.

Passage, unfortunately, is no surprise.

On May 22, SB 304 passed the Senate 32-1 Twenty-one out of our 33 senators sponsored the bill. Sen. Jeff Jacobson (R-Butler Twn.) the lone dissenter said of the bill:

I don’t believe that the link is so clear that those who are distraught enough to consider destroying a life after a birth will be deterred from that because they find out there is a legal way to rid themselves of a child. I do think this encourages the comodification of children.

On May 13, a week before the vote, Erik Smith and I testified against the bill before the Senate Health, Human Services, and Aging Committee Seven of the 12 members were sponsors. (You can read my account of the hearing and portions of my testimony here.

When I called the Statehouse to get details on the hearing, the aide to the committee chair evinced shock–well actually gasped over the phone– that anyone would oppose such a benevolent state enterprise. At least the Senate Committee was polite. Members actually asked me a few pertinent questions before invisibling me. Like the aide, they were aghast that anyone, especially an adopted person, might find their bill a bit distasteful. They were pitifully unaware that every adoption reform organization in the US oppose dumps and that even prominent dump proponents oppose expansion beyond three days. They simply could not grasp the significance of either opposition blocks.

The committee met Erik’s testimony, based on pesky matters such as separation of powers doctrine, non-custodial parental rights, and void judgments, with amusing repartee on legalise. When Erik informed them that the law they were seeking to expand had been ruled unconstitutional recently by Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court Judge Peter Sikora, in re: Baby Boy Doe (145 Ohio Misc.2d 1, 2007-Ohio-7244), their boredom didn’t miss a beat

Once passed, SB 304 was basketed over to the House Health Committee where 18 of its 22 members adopted it; that is, signed on as sponsors. This is the same gang of arrogant rate takers, propped up by Ohio Right to Life, who earlier this year walked out en masse during often tearful natural parent testimony in favor of unrestricted obc access for all Ohio adoptees, not just those born on politically appropriate dates. (Read here for my first person account of that bloodletting). SB 304 reposed in the dead zone where most bills go until resuscitated by the sound of the end-of the session rubber stamp pounding at its door.

The anti-aborts at LifeNews.com sent out a press release from the adoptee hating Ohio Right to Life saying it “promoted and testified” for the bill. Mike Gonidakis, executive director of ORTL who I’ve heard considers himself an ethicist, without saying why, declaimed, “We believe that extending the timeframe when a parent can use the Safe Haven law will help protect babies.”

Ann Stevens, spokesperson for the Montgomery County JFS crowed to WHIO-TV, Dayton, “People before Safe Haven were leaving kids outside by doorsteps. This way, we can assure babies are taken care of right away.” Note to Ann: since Ohio’s law went into effect, Dayton has had two neonaticides that I’ve documented. There may be more I missed.

No doubt Helen Jones-Kelley, (right) putative director of ODJFS would agree; that is, if she weren’t on a 30-day unpaid paid administrative leave after the Ohio Inspector General and Franklin County Prosecutor investigated her unauthorized cyber snooping on Joe the Unlicensed Plumber and “unrelated” on-company-time-and computers fundraising for the Obama campaign during the recent election. (here and here)

When Jones-Kelley was director of Montgomery County JFS and Children’s Services (the two agencies combined a few years ago) she over-saw three “safe haven cases” and named each child… Kelley. Within days of the “safe surrender” of the first Kelley–Joseph Devon Kelley–the baby’s mother attempted to navigate his return home through juvenile court. The Dayton Daily News was locked out of the hearings and the records sealed, but it’s safe to assume that Master Kelley was returned and given a real name. (Dayton Daily News January 8, 2003, March 28, 2003, paid archives; copies in my possession.) Curiously, the birth certificate that Jones-Kelley told the Dayton Daily News she filled in and signed for Kelley 1 is not listed in the Ohio Birth Index–nor are any other surnamed Kelleys during her regime, though she claimed to name them all after herself. Even if the obcs have been sealed, they should be publicly indexed on Vital Stats computers downtown.

The November 16, 2004 Dayton Daily News quoted Jones-Kelley on legalized baby abandonment, “It’s the best gift any mom can give a child.” (paid archives; copy in my possession)

But let’s continue.

Bastardette’s nomination for dumbest “safe haven” lede of the year goes to Columbus NBC 4’s Denise Yost who apparently has never heard about adoption. “Ohio is a safe haven for new mothers who have no option but to abandon their babies as fast as they can and that could soon be expanded.” Despite the poor sentence structure, Bastardette envisions new mothers in big boots rushing in from all over the country, a la Nebraska, stomping down greeters at the dump door.

Yost interviewed Crystal Ward Allen, Executive Director of the Public Children Services Association of Ohio. “When young moms are in crisis, they don’t know the ins and outs of the Ohio Revised Code. We wanted to do more public education.” Thank God we have PCSAO to steer us through the Ohio Revised Code!

Since Friday I’ve attempted to access PCSAO’s webpage without success. Firefox times out; Internet Explorer tells me the page is unavailable. I found PCSAO’s mission cached:

PCSAO is a proactive coalition of Public Children Services Agencies that promotes the development of sound public policy and program excellence for safe children, stable families, and supportive communities. We do this through advocacy, research, training, consultation, and technical assistance.

I admit that I’m pretty ignorant about state child welfare agencies and their fellow family fuss budgets, but I do know that PCSAO is an important player at the Statehouse. Until I can download PCSAO’s page and learn more about it, I can’t comment on its “safe haven” role or any fiscal interest it may have in making baby abandonment a successful and lucrative social experiment in Ohio. I have also been unable also to find its relationship (if any) to Ohio’s Children First Cabinet Council. If you go here, though, you can read the cabinet’s membership description, and it sounds like PCSAO probably has a seat at the table.

The testimony of PCSAO lobbyist Greg Kapcar, at the May 13 Senate hearing suggests that PCSAO has a stake in dump expansion and will be involved in shilling…er… I mean, promotion development Below is my account of that testimony, posted on the Daily Bastardette, two days after the hearing was held:

After our testimony on Wednesday, Greg Kapcar, Assistant Leg Director for the Public Childrens Services Association of Ohio gave proponent testimony. (Jim McCafferty, director of Cuyahoga County CS who loves safe havens, is on PCSAO’s board). Kapcar was especially excited about an amendment added at Wednesday’s hearing to authorize baby dumping promotion, though when asked what kind of promotion was planned he didn’t know–exactly. Prompted by my earlier testimony that there was no evidence that babies 72 hours or older were being abandoned or killed in the state (which falls right in line with the Centers for Disease Control report on infant homicide), a member of the committee asked if he had any figures on that. Well…no, he didn’t, but “it’s better to err on the side of safety.” (Mr. Kapcar also referred to adoption as the “final solution.” I wish my anti-adoption mom friends had been there!)

But, let’s continue.

According to the Warren Tribune “Marcia Tiger, executive director of Trumbull County Children Services “does not anticipate a problem with the expanded timeframe because 30 days still is a narrow window for abandonment to occur.” But then Trumbull has hardly been inundated with “safe haven” dumps. The county’s only dump was in December 2003 when a boy was dropped off at Trumbull Memorial Hospital just in time for Santa to transfer him to a middle aged forever foster-to-adopt single mom with grown kids.

Dean Sparks, executive director of Lucas County Childrens Services told WTVG-TV, Toledo that he wasn’t sure if expanding the timeframe to 30 days was necessary. He quickly extracted his foot from his mouth, though, adding, “We certainly are supportive of any legislation that is going to keep babies safe and keep babies alive.”

Sparks said he didn’t know “off the top of his head” how many babies had been dumped in Toledo-area hospitals, saying it was a couple year. According to my records–taken from statements made earlier by Sparks and quasi-official state records– there have been at least three boarder baby cases, re-invented as “safe havens.” That is, babies born in hospitals to identified mothers, and left there beyond the time of release. In the May 3, 2003 Toledo Blade Sparks announced that a month earlier a baby had been delivered at an unnamed Toledo hospital and left there by the mother “after having referred to the Safe Haven law.” A second baby was left after a hospital birth in July 2003 (no details), and another one (no details) between July 1. 2003-June 30, 2004. ODJFS reports that three (no details) were left in Lucas County in FY 2007 (ended June 30, 2007), but doesn’t specify if they were delivered on the premises or left after the fact. (Non-linked sources: Toledo Blade, May 3, 2003, July 24, 2003; December 1, 2005; paid archives in my possession)

In the December 1, 2005 end-of-the year wrap-up Sparks described the “safe haven” process:

The cases that I’m familiar with are cases where the mother’s gone to the hospital, she’s delivered the baby in the hospital and she’s said, “By the way, I don’t want this baby. I want to claim my Safe Haven privilege.”


It is clear from this and other anecdotal evidence that boarder baby incidents are being folded into “safe haven” reports to inflate stats to make the dump industry and its politicians feel good about themselves and build a bankroll.

Ohio has done little to promote baby dumping, offering only a webpage, brochures and posters, yet ODJFS claims that 54 babies have been “saved” since 2001. I’ve been Greyhounding between Columbus and Canton recently and the baby dump poster to the right hangs in the Mansfield bus terminal because earlier this year a baby girl was left on the steps of a church in nearby Bellville. Ironically, on Friday the baby’s father was granted custody and she’ll be with him by Christmas. If she’d been “safe havened” as the Ohio General Assembly would prefer, she’d be in the anonymous adoption mill.

One of the state’s biggest baby dump promoters was Twyana Davis. In 1995, at the age of 19, Davis left her newborn daughter in a trashcan at Ohio Dominican College. She completed her degree and probation, and regained custody of her daughter who was being cared for by Davis’ grandparents. She appeared on Oprah and other national and international media. Once opposed to “safe havens” Davis went over to the dark side a few years ago, in my opinion to get state and private funding for her now defunct non-profit 2nd Chance at Life, which worked closely with Franklin County Childrens Services, schools, and social organizations helping young young pregnant women and mothers. In the early part of 2006 Davis, then 30, was charged with rape (and here) after she confessed that the father of her abandoned daughter was her (then) 12-year old cousin, now all grown-up and a convicted rapist himself. Davis also confessed to sexually molesting other children, including one under the age of 2, but was never charged. Adjudicated a sexual predator, Davis was sentenced to 10-25 years in prison. She must serve a minimum of 10 years and is required to be on the Ohio Sex Offender Registry for life.

In Ohio, ODJFS depends on the kindness of strangers. Each county is responsible for reporting “safe haven” incidents to Columbus for an informal stat count released at either the end of the fiscal year or the chronological year. ODJFS has told me that each county JFS office is responsible for defining for itself what is and isn’t a “safe haven”case (!) , so it’s hard to say how many dumps have actually happened; and moreover, how many dumps fall, even theoretically, under the desperate parent/baby saving paradigm on which this whole scam operates.

Updated Ohio stats for this year should be released soon. Unlike Michigan and Kentucky data collectors (see below), Ohio does not release information as to the physical location of birth. (ie, hospitals) To read the yearly press release on Ohio “saved babies” go to the press release page and scroll through titles.

Dump stats from states adjoining Ohio suggest that Ohio numbers are way out of whack. Before Ohio became a dump haven, it wasn’t knee-deep in abandoned and dead newborns, so this ridiculous 54 number makes no sense. Nearby-state numbers also show how stats are being deep fried to justify the continuance of useless and harmful programs and hanger-on welfare rats and tragedy pimps.

Michgan:, (up to 3 days). January 1, 2001-current: 50 of 62 “safe haven” babies were born and “safe havened” in hospitals

Kentucky: (up to 3 days). April 2002-March 20, 2007: 14 of 15 “safe haven” babies were born and “safe havened” in medical facilities.

Pennsylvlania: (up to 28 days) February 2003 – current: 5 babies safe havened; location of birth and “surrender” unknown.

Indiana: (up to 45 days) 2000-June 26, 2008: 6 babies safe havened (unofficial) ; location of birth and “surrender” unknown, but one mother “surrendered” after attending a “safe haven” seminiar.

The other day the Newark Star-Ledger ran a short piece on the boarder baby/safe haven nexus in New Jersey, but made no connection with the contradiction. Baby Love Child did, however, and I urge you to got here and read her analysis (with lots of links) New Jersey– Boarder Babies Being Folded into “Safe Have”Statistics.

Ohio is in deep fiscal trouble. Gov. Ted Strickland prposed a worst case scenario of a 25% budget cut, includng $300 million for ODJFS. Now, nobody wants to see that, but obviously cuts will be made. Let’s hope that how to abandon your baby “education” is dumped.


  1. From Kevan:

    I’m still wondering what Safe Haven laws have to do with Open Records? These are two separate issues.

    Baby-dumping is simply the product of American capitalism, as is modern adoption. In modern adoption, those with enough money can get a product for sale (a baby), usually from someone in the lower economic class. The birth mother is sold on the idea the baby will have a “better life” (i.e. more material THINGS, more MONEY, more opportunity in the higher economic class, etc.) Therefore, the system of capitalism enables the injustice.

    In baby-dumping, once again, American capitalism creates the economic situations that lead to it. The social safety net is not as strong as people who live in nifty houses think it is. In American capitalism, for every Bill Gates there are at least five million people who are poor or live paycheck-to-paycheck. (Which certainly indicts as a false god the entirety of American capitalism.)

    Therefore, whether or not the law makes baby-dumping possible, the issue is not going to go away. The real question is: Who will address the social injustices that create baby-dumping in the first place? Another question is: Who will address the malfunctioning culture that raises people to think baby-dumping is ok in situations not created by economic injustice? Those two questions must be addressed before any real dialogue can take place. Just to say “We can’t have Safe Haven laws” still does not address the issue.

    The issue is supposed to be Open Records. That’s OUR social justice issue as adoptees.

  2. I think the vote of the Ohio Legislature shows us that opposing baby dump laws is probably a lost cause. Virtually every state has one. The arguments aren’t over repealing them. The arguments are over how far the laws should go. Unfortunately, they are being expanded.

    I realize this has implications for open records. But, sometimes you have to admit you have lost and move on.

  3. Kevan, Baby-dumping goes back to the primal issues of adoptees and mothers. There is method in this madness.

    These people who advocate the Safe Haven laws are trying to get around the open adoption situation and back to secret, closed adoption by making it OK to leave your baby, anonymously. It will create a whole new generation of mothers who wonder what in the hell they got conned into and adoptees without identities or heritages.

    They make it sound so easy and so beneficial and point out the highly-hyped, but actually minority-numbered, dumpster babies. Very few mothers are in that category. It’s another ploy by the industry and its advocates to take us back to the bad old days of adoption where few real choices, or help to keep families together, were given.

  4. Kevan,

    Baby dump laws relate to our issue of open records because our opponents support baby dumping as a default way of keeping records from adoptees, because in an anonymous dump there ARE NO records! So it does not matter if records are open, those adoptive parents who favor secrets and lies and those agencies that promote them love baby dumps because even if one searches there is no trail to follow.

    So it is part of our issue and concern.

  5. Kevan, legalizing anonymous abandonment is totally antithetical to the whole concept of open records.
    To sit back and accept Safe Havens as inevitable would be prejudicial to any sort of real adoption reform.

  6. From Kevan:

    Yeah, but my question is still unanswered: What is your solution? Are you going to address the social and economic issue? Or would you rather concentrate on what we still have not made much recent progress on—-Open Records. Until we have Open Records, we should not be dabbling in every arena.

    Jack Of All Causes–Master Of None. We need to avoid that pitfall.

  7. Look Kevan, I don’t have a whole ton of time to address you cluttering up comment thread after comment thread on Marley’s blog with criticism of open records advocates (such as BN) for simultaneously addressing the baby-dump laws.

    You don’t understand the connection. I get that. I got it the first couple times you posted such.

    I’ve already written most of the WHY on my blog (which Marley had referred readers to repeatedly.) My “safe haven” tag contains easily 80% of the WHY spread out across a variety of posts.

    That said, a why -opppose -baby -dumps -for -dummies /Cliff Notes-eque version (that’s still going to be LONG) has been a long time coming.

    I’m going to write off the top of my head, but this will likely be one of the largest dump-law histories (certainly from a Bastard perspective) brought together in one place to date.

    Marley’s work has informed all of this for me, though she should not be taken as responsible for the following.

    So here’s the “short” version-

    The baby Moses/ “safe haven”/ baby-dump / legalized child abandonment laws only exist today (all across the U.S. except Washington D.C.) in that they are the evil spawn “brainchild” of the adoption industry reacting to open records victories.

    Part of the entire point of the dump laws is that it ultimately will matter less if social norms shift such that open records become the norm at some point in the future, as there will be at least a portion of the next generation of adoptees who will simply have no records to get.

    Bill Pierce, the founder and first head of the industry created National Council for adoption referred to the dumped kids as a form of “non-bureaucratic placement.” Which is to say kids without paperwork, kids without the possibility of ever having original parents able to reconnect with them.

    Pierce, in his position at NCFA saw the writing on the wall. He understood fully that international adoption was an ethical cesspool. He also knew it was a gold-rush market that couldn’t last.

    Domestic alternatives had to be provided by the industry, alternatives that would still cater to the potential adoptive couple’s insecurities about their kids having another family out there somewhere.

    As I wrote:

    Legalized dump laws are about a steady supply of infants for adoption, in most states relatively paperfree, with no ‘pesky birthparents’ likely to show up at some later date. It’s no coincidence that the rise of the dump laws has happened at the exact same time as declining international adoptions.

    With NCFA losing key cornerstones of its pro-secrecy stance(re-framed by Pierce to a misuse of the term “privacy”) in battles such as Doe. v. Sundquist in 1997 and Oregon’s Measure 58 that finally finished winding its way through the courts in 2000, the industry needed a new strategy.

    In the wake of these losses, they understood that “confidentiality” even when done in the name of original parents who by and large never wanted it, when taken through the courts wasn’t holding up.

    The Oregon Measure 58 referendum had been passed by the voters in 1998.

    Pierce has admitted, the baby-dump laws were a(n industry) reaction to the victories open records proponents had won.

    [I’m going to quote a section of what I wrote here by way of citation and for that, along with a reiteration of what Bastard Nation has up on the website explaining part of the BN stance on why these laws matter”

    To quote the Bastard Nation position piece on legalized abandonments,

    “Bastard Nation believes that it is no coincidence that Safe Haven laws have been enacted just as the efforts of Bastard Nation and other adoptee civil rights activists have begun to overturn archaic state laws which seal our records from us. One prominent sealed records lobbyist wrote recently that “disappearing privacy rights” [records access] “has led most States to pass Safe Haven laws so that women and their babies have a life-saving option of anonymously taking a baby to a hospital or other safe place.” Safe Haven laws, we believe, are simply a tool to codify secret relinquishment and adoption.”


    “While these programs and campaigns can take on a life of their own, their impetus in large part has come from conservative and highly influential adoption lobbyists such as retired National Council for Adoption President and CEO Dr. William Pierce who for over 20 years has opposed identity rights and records access for adult adoptees. It came as no surprise to us, then, when Dr. Pierce, complaining about “disappearing privacy rights in adoption” wrote last year that Safe Haven laws are a direct response to the successful movement to overturn outdated sealed records laws in the US.[1]

    (Footnote , 1 William J. Pierce, “European Court of Human Rights may overturn French law that promised women confidentiality in adoption,” Extra! October 9, 2002, (url to the citation off the now dead IAVAAN.org site) Dr. Pierce is also the Director of the Richard C. Stillman Foundation for Adoption which has given modest grants to the pioneering Baby Moses Project in Texas and AMT Children of Hope Foundation Infant Burial Fund, a Safe Haven powerhouse in New York State. 990-PF Form, IRS Return of Private Foundation, 2000, 10; Activity Report, The Richard C. Stillman Foundation for Adoption 1996-1999, 10)”]

    AMT Children of Hope of course was Tim Jaccard’s organization before he went on to head up the National Safe Haven Alliance (NSHA,) see below. See my Tim Jaccard tag for more about his night time secret birth baby dumping activities.

    In 1999, Texas passed the nation’s first “baby Moses law.”

    As I said in my first blogpost about the Nebraska mess:

    As for NCFA itself, it is an industry trade group and lobby founded in 1980, as a direct reaction to the 1979/1980 Carter administration’s Draft Model State Adoption Act (DMSAA) which had called for restoring records access by adoptees to their own adoption records. NCFA was created very specifically by industry interests to derail and defeat the open records provisions of the DMSAA.

    Similar to NCFA’s reactionary founding, Pierce and NCFA became early promoters of baby Moses laws in the wake of Oregon’s historic Measure 58 (passed in 1998, tied up in legal challenges until 2000), the statewide referendum that restored records access to adult adoptees, as a strategic means of circumventing the open records victory.

    Back in 1980 when NCFA was founded there wasn’t a coherent response to dealing with it and it’s propaganda, in part because adoptee rights was a concept that had very little organizational voice at the time. Those who even bothered to note NCFA “didn’t want to take their eyes off the ball” to speak.

    And so over the next few decades NCFA’s reach grew and spread like a cancer. People and organizations who never should have supported it were suckered in by NCFA co-optation of words like “choice” and “privacy” (for the industry’s own uses) ths “adoption” was (falsely) cobbled on as a “third reproductive choice” ala marketers like Jack Wilke.

    As to how the Texas dump law came into being? That’s a saga unto itself. I’d prefer to let Marley try to write that one, but for the moment-

    I’ll simply point out that in the September 1997 copy of “NCFA notes” they floated the baby-dump trial balloon by way of an article by Chris Ademec about an idea that came out of Seattle, a plan to create sites where kids could be left at fire stations- “Idealistic solution to abandoned babies: can it work?”

    The initial Seattle plan didn’t grow directly into program.

    Instead, after the NCFA article, the idea found fertile soil in Texas by way of a Gladney related individual. (Gladney had of course, also been key in creating NCFA in the first place, the organizational ties were longstanding.)

    The Texas bill came up through Geanie Morrison. To quote a sentence or two from Marley, the

    Proposal came from Dr. John Richardson, recently retired pediatrician at the Gladney Center, NCFA’s founding adoption agency. Richardson says he was inspired to promote legalized abandonment after reading the NCFA article.

    Richardson took idea to Fort Worth Bishop Joseph Delaney and the board of Cook Children’s Medical Center and later to other prominent agencies who liked it.

    Which is to say the TX law grew out of Pierce’s reaction to states unsealing records at the urging of adoptees and other activists.

    Just as NCFA was born as a reaction to the report advocating open records, the National Safe Haven Alliance (NSHA), which is an outgrowth of NCFA, is also an industry reaction to openness, in this case the late 90’s referendum and court battles.

    How much an outgrowth of NCFA is the NSHA? As Marley documented here the answer is joined at the hip:

    According to incorporation papers filed with the Virginia Secretary of State, Tom Atwood, president and CEO of NCFA is NSHA’s president and registered agent. The alliance’s principal office is 225 N. Washington St, Alexandria, VA–NCFA headquarters. The invitation to the fundraiser was went out on NCFA letterhead.

    So to answer your question and assertion- “I’m still wondering what Safe Haven laws have to do with Open Records? These are two separate issues.”

    The short answer is baby-dump laws are the industry’s attempt to undermine the very notion of the birth certificate as an historical record of an actual event.

    They’re nothing “separate” about ’em. The very people intent on keeping records sealed are the very same people working to ensure for some adoptees there will never be any records to get- thus setting the precident that records are decoupled from the act of birth-giving.

    It’s classic whack-a-mole. They’ve got people so intent on watching the hole on the left, they’re not noticing the ten holes to the right.

    When you hear the term “safe haven” keep in mind that what is really being discussed here is fast tracked, relatively paper-free infant adoptions.

    Adoptions in which pesky little things the industry hates like revocation periods and parental rights are short circuited by the act of a “safe haven” relinquishment.

    We’re still talking about adoption, just a whole new class of adoptees, who are going to be dealing with issues even more complicated than trying to pry the state and industry’s paws off the records vault doors.

    As to stopping the actual act of child abandonment itself (never mind notions of whether or not the law will set aside penalties for such, for the moment.) You can’t, certainly not in this cultural climate anyway.

    Study the history of child abandonment, dead infants happen, whether the bodies are eventually found or not.

    As I wrote here:

    Unfortunately, the reasons for opposing legalized child abandonment are complex, nuanced, and rarely soundbyteable. Professional dump marketeers waving pictures of cuddly babies and making overly simplistic unburdened by evidence propagandistic arguments along the lines of (the compulsory pregnancy advocates’ line) “live baby good dead baby bad” shouted down voices of reason.

    Never mind the fact that the mythical “dead baby” alluded to by the dump law advocates was likely never headed toward death in the first place. Yes, there are dead babies. But to claim the two poles are “safe haven” or dumpster misses reality.

    The womyn with the wherewithal to utilize the dump law, who packs up her baby to drive him or her across town to the hospital is not the same womyn as the womyn who tiptoes over to the dumpster a few blocks from her apartment to deposit a trash bagged bloody bundle.

    The hospital abandoner under other circumstances may have been able to connect with a program or a relative, or even a traditional (non state anonymized) adoption plan. She wants her kid to be ok. Trash bag abandoner on the other hand?

    There remains no evidence what-so-ever that these laws reach her.

    At best, the U.S. could move towards a stance more in line with that of most other countries, wherein neonatacide and infanticide are understood to be circumstances prompted by crisis.

    A crisis that may require mental health support, or the more general destigmatization of single or underage pregnancy (and more generally still, sexuality itself,) economic support, or other forms of institutional restructuring.

    But child abandonment is to be discouraged societally, never actively encouraged by the state!

    Abandoning a child should never have been made a state sanctioned act.

    Dump-laws embody the very antithesis of good child welfare policy. Child abandonment is NEVER good for kids.

    There is no objective evidence that kids who become entangled with “safe haven” schemes were ever children who faced imminent harm.

    Those turned in are by and large kids who otherwise in one form or another would have had a paper trail, in many cases their identities left intact.

    Dump laws are about diverting a stream away from traditional adoption and other programs and into a new class of permanently identity deprived infants.

    Those deemed desirable will be skimmed off into fast track adoptions. Those unmarketable will be left to languish in the foster system.

    (And yes, I could get into the federal “adoption bonuses” to the states for placements into “permanent homes” but I won’t here. It’s all over on my site. here as but one of many places. The economics of all this are one hell of a racket- an adoption racket to be specific.)

    Regular readers of my site know part of the very core of how I address adoption itself, let alone the dump laws is from the bedrock understanding the poverty is the engine that drives the supply end of the machine. (Wealth, on the part of “Demand” is adoption’s counterpart.)

    go read my “about page:”

    Baby Love Child, the blog, also has roots in exploring adoption and how it is deeply entwined with many social factors, particularly poverty. Many real life “love children” who are later adopted, are not ‘given up’ for lack of love, but for lack of resources. Many of those mislabeled “orphans” are in fact made available to the adoption process as a byproduct of grinding poverty, both domestic and global.

    Is that not clear enough?

    I’m one of the people working on “Stop Encouraging Child Abandonment,” or SECA.

    Marley posted SECA’s introductory announcement and right on cue, you scrawled more of the same all over that comment thread as well.

    This thread, marks at least the third time you’ve done such.

    You want an “alternative?”

    You want to know “what is suggested instead of Safe Haven laws?”

    How about precisely what was written about in SECA’s first blog post,(had you bothered to read it,)

    Those of us who came together to form Stop Encouraging Child Abandonment (SECA) are working for what we really want: for America to return to being the country we grew up in, a place where child abandonment was never to be state-encouraged via child welfare policy. We feel we are stating the obvious: child abandonment is always bad policy.

    SECA envisions returning child welfare policy in the United States to its previous state, restoring the United States to once again being a place where abandoning a child is never a state-sanctioned act.

    To that end, we advocate nothing short of the full repeal of all legalized child abandonment laws. Child abandonment must never be actively encouraged by the state.

    If you’re not convinced, you’re not convinced. Whatever.

    But then allow me to pose a question in turn to you, Kevan, since you are obviously unwilling to take the time to do the reading homework that would have ALREADY laid 80-90% of this all out for you, why are you repeatedly scrawling all over the space of those you know (both individually and in whatever sense organizationally, yes Marley’s blog is independent, that said, BN’s position is right there on the web for all to read) asking the same questions over and over?

    No, I’m not going to be able to solve all things American Capitalism.

    I have however, bitten off the chunk I personally feel best equipped to tackle, open records work, AND as the BN mission statement makes clear the broader issues of:

    the civil and human rights of adult citizens who were adopted as children.

    Note that when speaking to open records, the mission statement includes:

    records that pertain to their historical, genetic and legal identities.

    I would think that the intentional creation of a class of adoptees for whom their identities are not merely state confiscated, but actively state obliterated, would indeed, clearly fall under that.

    Alongside advocating an end to other unfortunate aspects of Bastardly existence, such as shame, the mission statement clarifies, the fight for records is not merely the fight for records, the BN mission encompasses the “RIGHT TO KNOW ONE’S IDENTITY” of which records are but one manifestation thereof:

    The right to know one’s identity is primarily a political issue directly affected by the practice of sealed records adoptions. Please join us in our efforts to end a hidden legacy of shame, fear and venality.

    What are baby Moses laws about if not the intentional destruction of the authentic identities of adoptees and foster kids?

    Identity rights become meaningless in a culture that by state sanctioned acts ensure authentic identity for some will simply never be traceable.

    What do the two, open records and dump laws have to do with one another?

    And then further, why should individuals like ourselves and organizations like Bastard Nation take such on?

    Everything Kevan. Everything.

    BN was the first organization to come out against the dump laws, and in so doing, BN made clear, it is indeed, as its tagline reads:

    The Adoptee Rights Organization.

    Of any organization claiming to be such, when it comes to the dump laws, I would expect nothing less.

  8. And as for Anon,

    Well while predictable, your response is obviously not shared by myself, the owner of the site.

    There are numerous organizations who have come to their own conclusions that the dump laws are bad policy.

    Where you throw up your hands, others of us roll up our sleelves.

    When womyn were denied access to the vote, was it more beneficial to sit back and say

    “Ah well, that’s just the way it is.”

    Or to gear up for the long haul?

    What we have gained, we have gained because people worked damn hard to make it so.

    so, you head own back to the lazy boy and grab the remote, I’m afraid I’ll be a bit too busy for the foreseeable future to join you… .

  9. From Kevan:

    Baby Love Child, I am still amazed at how many Adoptee Rights people cannot take criticism without getting insulting. I will now stop “cluttering up” your precious blogs. Have fun with the next 150 years of trying to achieve open records at the current pace. Pardon me for thinking this was a place for discussion.

    As for this: “Where you throw up your hands, others of us roll up our sleelves.” Some of us wanted to, but got shouted down by others in BN when we wanted to have honest dialogue within the group without insults. THAT is why I threw up my hands. I used the time I saved to get all my records. Again, have fun preaching to the choir. Social services personnel do not read these blogs, by the way.

  10. From Kevan:

    One last thing, BLC. As an avid history reader, I need to point something out.

    You posted:

    “Those of us who came together to form Stop Encouraging Child Abandonment (SECA) are working for what we really want: for America to return to being the country we grew up in, a place where child abandonment was never to be state-encouraged via child welfare policy. We feel we are stating the obvious: child abandonment is always bad policy.

    SECA envisions returning child welfare policy in the United States to its previous state, restoring the United States to once again being a place where abandoning a child is never a state-sanctioned act.

    To that end, we advocate nothing short of the full repeal of all legalized child abandonment laws. Child abandonment must never be actively encouraged by the state.”

    You really need to do what you advise me to do (read). The past you glorify here never existed. The “Good Ol’ Days” weren’t. In the past, they had orphanages and workhouses for unwanted children. Ever heard of the “Orphan Trains” by which the unwanted kids in New York City were shipped out as free farm labor during the latter 1800s? There were no child labor laws and unwanted kids could be employed in coal mines. Child welfare laws didn’t just spring up overnight with no reason, like mushrooms. Like labor laws, they evolved due to serious social problems the “system” was not addressing on its own.

    No one is encouraging child abandonment. However, you do not address the fact that anyone who abandons a child is NOT a fit parent whether the state has Safe Haven or not. Forcing a parent to keep the child does not make that parent a fit parent. My Gods, how can you possibly think repealing Safe Haven laws will somehow force these bad parents to go seek counseling or something? Further, for you to advocate a return to those “Good Ol’ Days” or orphanages, workhouses, and other such Victorian-era “solutions” tells me you really don’t read much about the past you lionize. You need to go back and sharpen your pencil.

  11. Kevan–

    I wasn’t home much this weekend and will now attempt to respond to your various posts here. I’ll divide up my replies.

    Baby dump laws and records access laws are intimately entwined. They are one in the same. Baby dump pimps have attempted to separate themselves from their own genealogy–just as they attempt to separate us from ours. Probably some pimps are unaware of the origins of dump laws; others don’t care.

    BLC has written an essay it itself on that genealogy of the laws, but I’ll add and reiterate a few things here.

    Baby Moses laws, as they were called before they were scrubbed of their Christian connotation, came directly from the late Bill Pierce, founding president of the National Council for Adoption. If you are not familiar with Pierce he virtually created current sealed records ideology. Every argument used against us, be it from NCFA, the Bishops, anti-borts, Planned Parenthood, and the ACLU come directly from Pierce. Pierce’s wife Paula O’Connor, according to Pierce, came up with the name Baby Moses Law, which is pretty funny when you look at what Moses did when he found out he was adopted.

    Pierce was very vocal on both his IAVAAN blog and the NCFA page that MBL/SH were a response to the restoration of adoptee rights, identity, and records in Oregon and Alabama. Other issues and policies which dump laws and Pierce sought to challenge were placement with tribes via the Indian Child Welfare Act, which gives tribes custodial and placement rights of Indian children under a large range of conditions, and fathers (married and unmarried), including a circumvention of putative father registries. That is, anonymous and legal baby dumping was a solution to new laws and policies that made the adoption industry answerable to the people effected by secret practices and sought to protect the rights of adoptees, natural parents and in the case of NA, cultural genocide. Pierce knew that the history of sealed records had come to an end, but he stuck his finger in the dike with, keeping “anonymity” an “option.”

    The laws were carefully framed in the rhetoric of Piercian moral panic where the opposition sought to destroy adoption in the US. Bills were flogged as the only way women who wanted to protect their privacy/confidentiality (defined in Pierce’s radical terms, not accepted legal terminology) in adoption since adoptee records would destroy “confidential” adoption.

    Marrying adoption to his other obsession, abortion, Pierce contended that records access forced women to seek abortions rather than relinquish the normal way. He even referred to baby dumps as “non-bureaucratic placement” complaining that best practice standards (informed consent, paper-signing) were too time-consuming and difficult for some parents. He envisioned a time when older children could be dumped without question as well. Think Nebraska.

    In other words, the entire scheme was about creating a group of newborns without documents and identity–the historical clean slate–to move into the adoption mill for paps uninterested in ethics and identity. It also permitted mothers to hide babies from fathers and tribes. The laws, with their simplistic message of:”no shame no blame no name,” and “nobody will ever have to know you had this baby” encourage not only dangerous pregnancy and birth that put the lives of babies and their mothers in danger, but parents ignorant of how adoption works or looking for a quick fix. It appears that one group particularly influenced to dump newborns with the state are illegal immigrants, ignorant of child welfare and adoption practice, who can’t speak English and are afraid to seek assistance due to Draconian federal laws and ICE. Some of these stories have been documented by ICAN in LA County and newspapers are full of similar stories.

    While in theory and certainly in states where records are or will become available, adopted persons have the ability to gain information about themselves. In an official state-run anonymous abandonment system, there is no possibility that a state-facilitated and created class of anonymous people can ever recover their identities and histories. There are no records. (Last I looked, a current NJ semi-records access bill specifically exempts safe havened persons from accessing their obc under any circumstance. As is abundantly clear at this point, many babies are being designated as “safe havened” when they are actually boarder babies, which are a quite different abandonment matter.) Anonymous illegal discard and abandonment is one thing; legal state-encouraged, facilitated, and protected abandonment is quite another.

    And is it all about keeping sealed records.

    I’ll cut this one “short” and right another response a little later.

  12. Kevan–
    I know the battles you went through with social services and state sycophants, and their thugs, the enforcers of laws. Amongst the poor and disempowered especially, social workers are the civliian wing of the police. But their reach isn’t limited to those groups, as you know.

    I don’t disagree with you. Social workers can be a law on to themselves. There are real assholes in social services, but there is a large number of social workers who absolutely support records access. Their hands are tied due to state legislatures.

    Go to any records hearing and you will see the anti-aborts, the liberals, the women and baybee savers smirk at adoptees and natural parents. Go and read my account of the Ohio hearing. It is almost guaranteed in any state that an influential member of the legislature, often the chair of the committee where the bill is stuck, is an adopter(or secret birthparent?) who opposes access for anybody. The bill is held hostage and dies.That has nothing to do with social workers and everything to do with personal and political agendas.

    Records remain sealed because special interests across the political spectrum need protected. Often these interests have no relation to the issue. Records and the threat of opening them, are just another tool to dig in.

    Sealed records make strange bedfellows. Very seldom will you find anti-aborts in bed with Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. The ACLU goes so far as to argue that records access will cause abortion. Why do they even care? Maybe because (1) family building through adoption is very popular amongst the ACLU (and feminists) and (2) the ACLU is part of the legal establishment and they want to protect the ass of their colleagues no matter how corrupt they are.

    Facts and data don’t mean much to many of these people.The thing we want to do is neutralize them;that is, convince them to stay out of the fight. Without their special interests pounding their politicians either way, it’s easier to get bills through.

    As to who reads these blogs, you might be surprised. My site meter tallies up legislators, government agencies, and policy wonks every day.I recently did a long interview with a film company backgrounding a documentary.

  13. From Kevan:

    Marley, I agree. But, at the same time, we can’t pretend the social issues that cause baby dumping don’t exist. Or that abolishing Safe Haven laws brings us closer to open records. I strongly believe we need to remain focused on open records and open records only. Anything that dilutes that or distracts from that puts open records that much further away in every closed records state.

    I stand by my position that any parent who would use Safe Haven to dump any child is not a fit parent. There are no ifs, ands, or buts to that. Forcing them to keep the child will not make them fit parents. Who will address that issue? If the solution is to abolish Safe Haven, how do you address the unfit parents? Look the other way? We cannot, in good conscience, do such a thing. Not when kids are murdered and beaten to death by unfit parents, as you have so aptly noted in your blog. Do I believe Safe Haven is the answer? No. Do I believe the State encourages child abandonment through Safe Haven? No, I do not. But as long as we just throw out these bold judgements that Safe Haven is wrong with no other alternative, we become no better than those who place children with adoptive parents who are not fit.

    The State cannot “convince” or “encourage” a mother to drop off her flesh and blood at the fire station. The thought is already there in her mind. Whether through desperation, economic problems, or a broken culture, the thought forms in her head already. The mother is not some gullible waif walking by unassuming and then the State hiding in an alley stops her and goes, “Pssstt…hey little girl! Wanna dump the brat in my firehouse over here? C’mon, no one will ever know…” People make a conscious choice to do these things. The reasons are what must be addressed, not the actions or outcome of the root issue.

    My point is, the injustice is not Safe Haven. It’s like blaming banks for bank robberies. The injustice lies in the socio-economic reasons and the broken culture, as I pointed out earlier. That is a much deeper issue than open records. If Safe Haven was abolished today, we would not be one millimeter closer to open records, nor have gained a single inch of ground.

    Finally, we are losing sight of the entire cause: Open Records. Safe Haven is a tragedy, but it’s not black-and-white. It’s all shades of grey and no one wins in it. We need to face the fact that our entire society is severely damaged. Look at the news. We’re losing two wars, our entire economic system is a fraud in danger of collapse, and in this state, an 8 year old murdered his own father and family friend. Safe Haven is a symptom of a culture that says it’s ok for a mother to abandon her baby because no one wants to put in the sweat equity of finding a real solution. Instead of working to abolish Safe Haven, why not work on getting some shelters to provide more options to desperate mothers? Why not work on getting more government funding for shelters? But that, too, distracts from open records. No one wins here, Marley. No one wins. Everyone loses. Safe Havened kids will never know their birth family. Unfit parents will abuse or murder their children. No one wins.

  14. From Kevan:

    I know a lot of liberals and I never met one who opposes open records. We’ll need to disagree there. And I don’t trust any social worker. To me, if they work in such an unjust system, they’re no different than the usual “We’re just following orders…” self-excusers throughout history. It’s like if some guy said, “Yeah, I gave those bottles of water to those guys waterboarding people at Guantanamo, but I didn’t actually believe in it…” Bullshit. He was a part of it, he’s just as guilty. The paycheck trumped his own conscience. Social workers are the apparatchiki that make it happen. If they are opposed to it and do it anyway (to make a buck), then they are even worse than those who believe in it. Because they know it’s wrong and do it anyway. Their hands are tied….awwww…. So their hands are tied from opening the want ads and finding a different job where they don’t prostitute their own conscience? I have more respect for a social worker who believes in closed records than one of them who doesn’t but goes along with the program anyway for a paycheck.

  15. Kevan, you gotta attend some open records hearings at the local statehouse: ACLU, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, NOW, all lined up opposing us. PP and the ACLU have been especially awful opponents.

    You can type ACLU into Bastardette’s search engine and read about New Jersey and Maine and other examples (though I’m not sure how good Blogger’s engine is) There’s a lot there.

    Otherwise, I especially recommend: Dimwits in the words of 9 New Jersey Adoptee Haters, December 9, 2006. http://bastardette.blogspot.com/2006/12/dimwits-in-words-of-9-new-jersey.html;

    Settling for less than you deserve, Dec. 3, 2006, http://bastardette.blogspot.com/2006/12/settling-for-less-than-you-deserve-why.htm

    and ACLU slags adoptees again, April 24, 2005. http://bastardette.blogspot.com/2005/04/aclu-slags-adoptees-again.html

    Liberals are much worse than conservatives. They stab you in the back every time. Incrementist. baby steppers reformists, and people pleasers. They’re the ones who have brought us disclosure and contact vetoes and tiered access. makng it incredibly difficult to get records for everybody.

    And don’t get me started on “adoption reform organizations” who have ingested every anti argument there is and regurgitate it back up with “agreeing” with their opponents while at the same time, claiming the promote records access. See just about anything on Massachusetts to see how that went down.

  16. Kevan–

    I’ll address the rest of your other questions later tonight probably, but I’ll say right now, “safe haven” propaganda has become standardized in many venues. What they like to call “an option” is now in the curriculum of state and Catholic school curriciulm. “Safe haven” is the new sealed records. You can’t separate them.

  17. Kevan-

    Clearly we disagree, odds are we probably always will.

    I’ve certainly spent more than enough explaining my position to you.

    I don’t enjoy arguing, and to be honest, this isn’t worth the time I’d put into it. I have about 20 other things on my plate today, not the least of which being the VA trial of Miles Harrison- you know in relation to a REAL dead baby, not mythic possibilities of such.

    You insist-

    No one is encouraging child abandonment.

    Which is simply incorrect.

    From the ad campaigns, such as the poster Marley photographed for this Ohio post, to the inclusion of baby-dumping in school curriculums, such as in Ohio, legalized child abandonment IS being actively marketed.

    You don’t agree. Fine, whatever.

    Your arguments are chock full of red herrings. But one example-

    The “Good Ol’ Days” weren’t. In the past, they had orphanages and workhouses for unwanted children. Ever heard of the “Orphan Trains” by which the unwanted kids in New York City were shipped out as free farm labor during the latter 1800s?

    I am not idealizing some mythical “way we never were” (it’s a book title if you want to know more.)

    I’m merely saying that 9 years ago the United States did not have leglaized child abandonment laws on the books.

    I would like to see THAT PORTION of child welfare law return to the way it stood in 1998.

    There’s nothing complicated about that.

    There have been plenty of legislative abominations throughout the Bush years that were mistakes and should be stripped back out/repealed.

    Note that nine years ago we ALSO didn’t have the orphanages, workhouses, nor orphan trains that you think I’m arguing some kind of return to.

    Do I know about such, orphan trains that is?

    Well had you bothered following the link to my about page I included in my initial response, you would find a discussion about exactly precisely that.

    But all this is a sidetrack. A time waster and space clogger.

    Orphan trains were not policy in 1998. (i.e. America before the dump laws passed.) And calling for a repeal of baby Moses laws is not the same thing as calling for a return to orphan trains.

    (Despite your false equation of such-

    Further, for you to advocate a return to those “Good Ol’ Days” or orphanages, workhouses, and other such Victorian-era “solutions” tells me you really don’t read much about the past you lionize.)

    You’re an attention sink, and I’m done.

  18. From Kevan:

    Well, then perhaps you should list some timelines, BLC. And if this is a waste of your time, why are you replying? Your angry answers obviously signal that I struck a nerve somewhere. I suspect it’s because I’m not vigorously nodding my head in agreement with everything you say. I never have been like that. Just ask CalState Social Services. But if there is one thing I have noticed in adoptee rights, it’s that there’s several people that can’t take constructive criticism, are not open to new ideas (unless they thought of them), and take things way too personal when someone disagrees. That’s one reason the adoptee rights movement is as fractured as it is and no progress is being made.

    Marley, the political persuasian is irrelevant as long as there is not a state-wide effort to get open records. I’m weary of blaming the liberals, the conservatives, the whoevers for the fact that BN can’t get its shit together now and get organized on a state-by-state basis. Blaming people doesn’t open records. Shit, in the State of Arizona, people can stand outside libraries and post offices with petitions for open records in hand. With enough signatures, it goes on the ballot for the state vote. If voted in, it becomes law. Now you tell me why Arizona Open (wherever the hell they are now; they never answered emails) has not organized to do just that? I know, I know, “Well, why don’t you do that, Kevan?” Because I’m not the organizer. I’m not the one delegated to represent the state. Better someone asks where the hell that person who was delegated is and why that individual does not answer emails when people seek to volunteer. Also, there would need to be people across the state to gather petitions. Where the hell is the accountability for those who are supposed to be reps?

    That’s why I’m saying this whole Safe Haven thing is a gigantic distraction from shit that is already not getting done. Or have a couple others states opened records since I quit BN? Hmmmm….somehow, I think I’d have heard of it if so. If BN can’t organize on a state level, how the hell is it in any position to dictate what it thinks should be nationwide public policy on Safe Haven? Physician, heal thyself.

  19. Kevan–Since you have never done an open records campaign, you have no idea what is involved. Criticism about how to run campaigns coming from people who have never been involved in one even marginally doesn’t hold much water. It is much more than “having your shit together.”

    As for a ballot initiative do you have several hundred thousand dollars laying around–or in the case of California, a minimum of 3 million? It is simply not a matter of gathering signatures. It’s tough grinding expensive work that is highly regulated by government who doesn’t want any initiative on the ballot. Ask people who’ve worked on everything from pot to conservancy just what the state will do to shut you down. You might want to take a look at the documentary made about BN in Oregon, Measurable Rights, to see just what it takes. Or Wayne Carp’s book, Adoption Politics about the Oregon campaign.

    I am not unsympathetic to your complaints,Kevan, but talk comes cheap.

  20. From Kevan:

    Yeah, Marley, and you don’t know how Arizona ballot initiative petitions work, either. Please see links below:





    You said:
    “As for a ballot initiative do you have several hundred thousand dollars laying around–or in the case of California, a minimum of 3 million? It is simply not a matter of gathering signatures. It’s tough grinding expensive work that is highly regulated by government who doesn’t want any initiative on the ballot.”

    I just showed you that is not the case in Arizona. You’re the one defeated before you start here, not I. It is just as I said, Marley. Any time someone poses a new idea, it is immediately shot down with “We tried that!” or “It won’t work!” I just showed you it CAN work in Arizona. But obviously, no one checked Arizona state law. I see all kinds of dreadlocked folks here with these ballot petitions for everything from animal rights to medical marijuana to you-name-it. Hell, they even got Maricopa County Sheriff Joe “Tent City” Arpaio to speak in favor of the animal rights initiative!!! But I have not seen ONE adoptee rights advocate with a petition for open records here. Because no one bothers to check on a state-by-state basis. Maybe more time doing and less time talking is the solution, dare I say. Talk is, indeed, cheap, Marley. People need to start acting like reps or admit they are not up to the job and get out of the way. Your Arizona rep is asleep at the damn switch, Marley. I found that out well over a year ago.

    Let’s see. If you’re not going to try ballot initiatives and you’ve already said a federal push and Supreme Court is out of the question, what is your solution? Blogging? Shmoozing a bunch of state politicians? Good luck with that.

    I keep hearing people like BLC accusing others of not wanting to put in the sweat equity to work for open records. Yet, I just in five minutes showed how you can get an open records initiative on the ballot in Arizona if some people got out from in front of their keyboards and got their asses in front of libraries with petitions. The time wasted on Safe Haven complaining, people could have been researching the ballot initiative process in all the states. Arizona is a growing state and you might have noticed our governor is now head of Homeland Security. People take this state seriously and here’s a fertile field for open records just sitting ignored. Talk is, indeed, cheap.

  21. There is much truth to what Kevan says. I do think, Kevan, you tend to minimize the difficulties of getting an initiative on the ballot and passed.

    However, just because something is difficult doesn’t mean people ought to avoid doing it. There has been altogether too much talk about opening adoption records and too little action these last few years. If California is too expensive a state to try and open records, than one should be selected where $3,000,000 in financial support is not required to get an initiative on the ballot.

    I simply do not buy the notion that the reason for Safe Haven laws is to facilitate adoptions. That’s just plain silly. However misguided, I do believe legislators passed these laws because of concerns about babies being killed or being left in toilets and dumpsters. Anyone suggesting that the adoption industry promoted these laws should be required to provide the proof.

    I personally do not believe that the diversion into Safe Haven laws helps the open record cause. That’s just my opinion.

  22. “I personally do not believe that the diversion into Safe Haven laws helps the open record cause. That’s just my opinion.”

    I think it’s morally obligatory to oppose them, but on the other hand I don’t think it should distract from the primary objective of opening records either. It has to be both.

    I don’t know much about Bill Pierce’s long term evil plan for the world, but I *am* surprised when people don’t recognize the importance of the connection between SHs and sealed records.
    AS far as I’m concerned, to accept SH anonymous abandonment laws is to effectively accept closed records. Accepting one undermines any argument one might raise against the other.
    And vice versa.

  23. Absolutely right, Kippa. To accept baby dump laws, no matter how enovolently they are framed, is to reject the entire concept of identity rights and the right to one’s own public birth record. Acceptance of state-facilitated identity erasure tanks all arguments for records. access. If the state can create a small “safe havened” class, it can continue to maintain the larger anonymous adopted class.

    An anonymous discard is one thing. It is not facilitated, encouraged, and applauded by the state, and they are few and far between. “Safe haven” abandonments are the exact opposite.

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