This evening (September 20) the National Safe Haven Alliance will “celebrate” the launch its national fundraising campaign with a cocktail party at Smith & Wollensky in downtown Washington. Bastrardette loves a good cocktail party, but at a minimum drop in the beg bucket of $500 to attend this shindig, I’m afraid I’ll just have to stand out in front of S&W with a sign: “BEWARE: Baybee Stealing in Progress. Enter at your own risk” (that is, if I were in Washington).
Note that I said minimum. Here’s the price list:
Founding Sponsor: $500-$999
Safe Haven Defender: $1000-$4999
Safe Haven Guardian: $5000 (and more presumably)
(If you can’t make it–or if you’re rich and can afford more– for $50 you can sponsor a “safe haven family” to attend the event. Why do they get off so cheap? )
For that kind of moo-la you’d think NSHA could throw in a steak au poivre or a bottle of merlot. Last year, at the National Center for Adoption Law and Policy’s Autumn Wine fundraiser I got all the stuffed mushrooms, gourmet chocolate and expensive wine I could chow down for a mere $75.
Anyway, for $500 you get the bare minimum: public recognition and an hors d’oeuvres ticket. The more you divvy up, of course, the better the perks. Safe Haven Guardians get photo ops with dignitaries. At this evening’s meet and greet, high rollers will get face time with Cong. Melissa Hart (R-PA), Cong. Peter King (R-NY) and Cong. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY).
Hart, (left) when a state rep, sponsored Pennsylvania’s safe haven bill. She’s a die-hard Bushista who co-sponsored the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act which among other things “requires the involvement of parents in abortion decisions” even if her own safe haven bill encourages minors to carry secret pregnancies and give birth unattended without “parent decisions.”
Cong King (right) is the subject of the popular series “Peter King is an Asshole!” written by “pontificator” and published on Political Cortex and other political sites. King’s latest accomplishments include voting against critically needed federal funds for state and local first responders and demanding that the editors of the New York Times be charged with treason.
Cong. McCarthy, (left) is the odd one out. Considered a “citizen legislator” and known mostly for her gun control advocacy, McCarthy’s main crime seems to be her co-sponsorship of the now dumpsterized HR 71, Baby Abandonment Prevention Act of 2001 which would have established a task force within the Bureau of Justice Statistics to gather information, study, and report to Congress on child abandonment incidents. The bill was re-introduced as HR 254, The Baby Prevention Act of 2005 , and now sits alone and abandoned in the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. McCarthy is not a co-sponsor.
Special Guest: The NSHA website says that the beg-a-thon will include “Remarks by a Safe Haven Child.” This can only mean Baby Zoe, who is profiled in the fundraising letter as a newborn who was placed with a “loving family” only 10 hours after being dropped off at the neighborhood baybee recycling plant. I’m not sure what she has to say since she’s only about 18 months old. No doubt she will be suitably grateful for being fast-tracked to adoption so a few so- yesterday fuddy-duddies can keep adult adoptees records sealed.
Zoe is the latest in a series of safe haven “saves” pimped to the public, much like Operation Save America pimps its children at abortion clinics. For several years my favorite safe haven acquisition has been Baby Matthew, whose birthmother according to the press, was already in an “adoption plan,” but decided to leave him at the hospital, thus saving him from the horror of living througth an open adoption. This last year, though he’s been AWOL from the safe haven scene. Perhaps Matty got tired of wearing that dumb suit and tie. Or maybe he stomped his foot refusing to play ChicagoLand political patsy anymore. Then there was Baby Angel also from Chicago, and New York’s Baby Molly. A few years ago Molly, recruited for a safe haven PR campaign, was cutely recorded on video and film running around the grave of an abandoned baby in Fort Wayne Indiana while safe haven adults plied their wares during a press conference at the burial site. (The pictures are no longer online, but I have printouts.) Of course, ungrateful adult adoptees whose identities are impounded by the state, don’t make cute props. Nobody has ever offered $500 much less $5000 for a photo op with me. If I held a press conference at an abandoned baby’s grave to peddle my papers–or lack thereof– at I’d be hauled away in a butterfly net.
NATIONAL SAFE HAVEN ALLIANCE
The National Safe Haven Alliance is a 501(c) (4) organization dedicated to promoting safe haven laws. It’s mission statement, published on its webpage says it “support[s] states efforts to prevent infanticide and unsafe abandonment through safe-haven relinquishments” by publicizing “the existence of this safe, legal alternative, (note: no mention of “ethical”) and by providing resources to state and state-based organizations….” In other words, it’s got a bead on Alaska, Hawaii, and Nebraska , the only three states with lawmakers who posses the common sense to ignore this bunk.
Of course, it’s no surprise that our old friends at the National Council for Adoption” (NCFA) are up to their neck in all this. Since it lost its federal Infant Adoption Awareness Program funding, a new crop of domestic baybees–or should I say moms–needs cultivated.
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.
Other officers are: Mobile County (AL) DA John Tyson (vice president), Dawn Geras from Illinois’s Save Abandoned Babies Foundation, (secretary) and Patti Weaver, from Pittsburgh’s Hand to Hold (treasurer).
Rounding out the board are Bob Floyd, Tim Jaccard, Mike Morrisey, Dr. Elizabeth Rex, and Sherry Boswell. (More about this crew later).
Conspicuously absent is safe haven pioneer Debi Faris-Cifelli, keeper of the Garden of Angels baby cemetery in Calimesa, California. Faris-Cefelli told the San Bernardino Sun recently that after “much thought, consideration, and legal advice” she decided not to join NSHA since the alliance was more concerned about changing laws while she’d rather deal with hands-on issues. Faris-Cifelli also opposes California AB 1873, a bill that expands the timeframe in which newborns can be “legally” dumped in California from 72 hours to 30 days. The bill sailed through both houses despite the opposition of safe haven stalwarts Faris-Cifelli, LA County Supervisor Don Knabe, the LA County Sheriff and DA and various state agencies as well as traditional SH opponents Bastard Nation, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute and other reform groups. It is now on Gov. Schwarzegger’s desk awaitng his signature. I have found no public statements on AB 1873 from NCFA or NSHA. What’s up with that?
Curiously, we don’t know exactly who belongs to the alliance outside of assumptions made from board membership since member organizations aren’t listed on the NSHA webpage. The Smith & Wollensky event page is likewise mysterious, failing to divulge the location of the fundraiser. Desperate for details, I feared I’d be forced to contact Court TV for a referral to my nearest psychic detective to determine at which S& W’s the merrymaking would commence. There are 10 in the US (11 if you count New Orleans) and neither city nor street address was revealed in the announcement. And an intriguing extra: the date is spelled “Semptember 20.” But then it makes perfect sense to give potential donors a vicarious taste of the anonymous and miscdocumented life– though none of this gives me much confidence in NSHA’s fundraising practices.
I only got details on the event when someone sent them to me. but since it’s my little secret, I’ll never say who. No blame, no shame, no name.
KNOWN NSHA HOMIES
Since we all know about NCFA, I’ll skip that part, and cut to the rest of the NSHA officers and board.
John Tyson, Alabama, is a pioneer safe haven advocate and Mobile County district attorney. In 1999 with TV news reporter Jodi Brooks, he developed A Secret Safe Place for Newborns the first legal dump program in the US.
Dawn Geras, Illinois, is the Founder of Save Abandoned Babies Foundation. One of the few reasonable voices (at least when I met her in Memphis a few years ago) in the movement, Geras doesn’t think it’s OK to drop off babies at churches and other warm and fuzzy illegal places where newborns have to depend on the kindness of strangers– if they happen to be around. Geras is good at hob-nobbing with pols, important city folks, and getting photo ops for safe haven baybees. Her SABF webpage has a good history and timeline of Illinois events, including illegal and legal dumps and legislation. But watch out for those downloadable toilet posters!
Patti Weaver, Pennsylvania, is the founder of Hand to Hold (no webpage found) described by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review as a non-profit that “helps women with unwanted pregnancies access the abandonment “option.” Hand to Hold was the first safe haven program in the state and replaced the Baskets for Babies project where Allegheny County residents put baskets on their porches so “desperate mothers” could drop off secret newborns on the way to school or the neighborhood bar. Weaver attended Harvard Business School and says her areas of interest are “fields generally dominated by men: business and politics“ She believes that God opened doors to put Hand to Hold together. Weaver reads evangelical authors Henry J Blackaby and Claude V. King and novelist Frank Peretti who writes about spiritual warfare between angels and demons. Peritti’s books are used by some of his fans as manuals for prayer and exorcism. To be fair she also enjoys John Gresham.
Bob Floyd, Indiana, is president of the Fort Wayne PR/media/communications firm Floyd & Partners, described on its webpage as “passionate about developing our partners’ brands.” In 2003 Floyd developed the pro-bono safe haven ad campaign that features Baby Molly with a voice-over by actress and Feminists for Life diva Patricia Heaton. In 2004 he reported development of a second PR campaign “to focus on the happy ending that results when a desperate mother takes advantage of the law.” From what I gather, cost has kept the PSAs in mothballs mostly, but with the big NSHA fundraising drive, hey they may be coming to your town soon.!
Tim Jaccard, New York, is a fulltime EMT with the Nassau County Police Department and the founder of AMT-Children of Hope, He is another safe haven pioneer, having started his campaign in the late 1990s by organizing burials of abandoned and murdered children with whom he came in contact through his work. AMT funerals are very Catholic, feature color guards, pipers, and sometimes even planes flying overhead. Jaccard sets up “desperate women” in hotel rooms to wait out their pregnancies and arranges for “anonymous” hospital delivery. He admits that he has a “don’t-ask-their- age policy. In the March 2003 issue of People Magazine he admited to assisting in secret births, including sneaking into a home and delivering a baby while the mother’s parents slept in another room. ( I shall forgo commenting on that for now!) I have met Jaccard several times, including an appearance with him on The John Walsh Show. He is a true believer, but I have never sensed the strip mine menatlity exhibited by NCFA and most other “pro-adoption” safe haven pushers.
Mike Morrisey, Massachusetts, is the worser half of the Massachusetts Morriseys; a word twister and media manipulator with a distaste for documentation. He and his wife Jean were the team behind the protracted ugly “Baby Safe Haven Yes” campaign. In his debut post on the Internet newsgroup alt.adoption, Morrisey suggested that any parent who adopted a safe haven baby who later needed bone marrow or other genetic material, could just mount a media campaign. I debated him twice on the radio. Both times he insisted that the rate of baby abandonment hasn’t changed in 2000 years. Without citation. In his safe haven testimony before the New Hampshire legislature Morrisey went weird claiming that I wrote the Evan B Donaldson “Unintended Consequences” report. This is an odd allegation since, unless I’m suffering MPD, I also wrote a criticism of the study, which Morrisey said on alt.adoption was better than the EBD report itself. In October 2003 Morrisey filed a complaint with the Lexington Police Department claiming creepily that I threatened Jeans’s life in our ongoing debate on safe havens on alt.adoption. Need I say more?
Dr Elizabeth Rex, New Jersey (with Tim Jacard far left), is the founder of the Children First Foundation a tri-state (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut) non-profit whose mission is “to promote and support adoption as a positive choice for unwanted pregnancies, newborns and embryos,” through public awareness, support, and funds for women who “choose life and adoption.” There is no mention in its mission about supporting women who “choose life” and keep their babies. Children First is the sponsor of Connecticut’s controversial “Choose Life” license plate, which it markets as “pro-adoption.” It is currently suing George Pataki, Elliot Spitzer and the New York DMV for what it claims is a denial of its free speech and equal protection rights after the DMV in 2004 put a moratorium on custom plates in a so-called “transparent attempt” to block approval of its plate. The case is now in federal court. and you can read a slew of articles about it on the CCF website. CCF raises funds for safe haven projects and has given $10,000 in grants to AMT Children of Hope. It recently raised $5000 for NSHA with its Baby Safe Haven Run from Manhattan to Albany. If CCF wins its case, look for Choose Life funds to move into safe haven support. Rex is a long-time friend of NCFA. Earlier this year I met her at an anti-abortion event at the Grand Hyatt in downtown Washington where she told me she opposed adult adoptee access to birth certificates and other identifying documents without consent of birthparents because mothers deserve protection. “Women need choices” she told me. “Lots of choices.”
Sherry Boswell: I have been unable to find anything about her other than she resides in Kentucky.
It will be interesting to see how much moo-la this cash cow produces. There’s a sucker born every minute.