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Still more Border Babies routinely relabeled “safe haven saves” in OH, NJ, MI, and KY

The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio) has done a very important article,

about the way boarder babies, those born at hospitals and left there after birth are being systematically folded into babydump, or so called “safe haven” statistics in Ohio.

While this is nothing new, it’s good to see another article pointing out the failures of the “safe haven” legislative schemes (similar to the article about New Jersey doing the same that I blogged earlier, New Jersey- Boarder Babies being folded into “Safe Haven” statistics.)

While “safe haven” legislation pimps continue invoking images of desperate pregnant teens secretly giving birth and claim the legislation is vital, lest these women murder their newborn offspring, and insist that only legislation will keep these babies “SAFE” (from their mothers) clearly border babies, born in hospitals and left when the women check out are not exactly fodder for choking, drowning, suffocating headlines.

Conflating these two scenarios goes beyond disingenuous.

The dump pimps with their pet legislation get to relabel babies born safely in hospital “saves,” the states get to move babies out of their border babies columns and into the “safe havened” column in their statistics, making them look good (and potentially changing their financials as well) but at what cost?

That women who deliver in hospitals and then leave the child at the hospital are now viewed as “safe haven” mothers, or there but for this (et-hem) “Lifesaving” legislation (cough, cough) she may have turned to infanticide?

That the infant themselves will be permanently stripped of biological and family ties, their individual cultural and heritage, and most importantly, their authentic identity all in the name of sliding them into a new class of eventual adoptee or foster child, the anonymized by the state “havened” dumpees?

What does this say about how we as a culture view women and the lifelong genuine needs of the children themselves, in whose name this damnedable legislation was passed in the first place?

The Ohio stats begin to tell the ugly story:

Lucas County Children Services in Toledo has handled six cases since Ohio’s Safe Havens law took effect in 2002, Executive Director Dean Sparks said. All were infants born in hospitals and left there by mothers…


Franklin County documented three Safe Havens babies this year, two of which took place in the hospital where the babies were delivered.

Cuyahoga County has had two this year, both in the hospitals where the babies were born.

Neither of those counties, the state’s most populous, could provide details on how and where all of their Safe Havens cases have occurred since 2002.

Due to the lack of reporting requirements (that opponents of the dump laws like myself wanted at the time this terrible legislation was initially passed) the counties , who apparently are unable to account for their dump cases, are the primary form of ‘statistical reporting’. The state only collects the data these counties inadequately report.

The bottom line is, no one CAN know how many of these kids have been created. Even the state itself has no idea.

The state doesn’t know, either. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services cannot provide a statewide breakdown on how Safe Havens cases occur, because it doesn’t keep track, said Jennifer Justice, chief of the Bureau of Family Services.

The raw numbers it reports have varied from 52 to more than 70 since the law went into effect. Justice said the discrepancy probably is due to a new child-welfare computer system.

Michigan and Kentucky’s “stats” tell the same story of border babies routinely reclassified as “safe havens:”

In Michigan, a large majority of the 76 babies given up under the state’s “Safe Delivery” law have been born in hospitals and left there, said Jean Hoffman, a consultant assigned to the program.

In Kentucky, 22 of 24 babies given up since 2002 under that state’s safe-haven law were surrendered in the hospitals where they were born.

The “safe haven” scam is that ultimately these are border babies being given a new more palatable narrative and marketing scheme.

There is already a technical classification for these babies born in hospital, “border babies.” Only lack of awareness of said terminology allows those advocating such schemes to get away with this rebranding.

None-the-less, true believers continue to intone their broken mantra “if it saves just one”, or we need this legislation, otherwise women will kill!

Those of us critical of the emerging babydump industry can’t help but take one look at drivel such as this from an adoption lawyer,

Columbus lawyer Thomas Taneff, who handles many adoptions, said some women incapable of parenting need the option that safe-haven laws afford.

and can’t help but point out that the dump laws provide a new source of (largely information-free, or “as-is”) kids, infusing them into a landscape wherein wanna-be-adopters are a dime a dozen, whereas actual kids to adopt, particularly healthy, white infants, are not surprisingly, utterly scarce. Naturally adoption lawyers, those who earn income from adoptions, are going to be supportive of any law that frees up more “product” to the adoption marketplace.

In the end, the dispatch article points out precisely what critics of the laws have said all along,

On one point, the sides agree: The nation needs reliable data on safe-haven laws, which now are in effect in all 50 states.

Sadly (though not surprisingly,) no. Those who have advocated enacting these laws DO NOT support accurate data collection, they have consistently, actively worked to have any amendment requiring data collection stripped from the final versions of the bills.

They continue to oppose data collection requirements even now after the bills have passed, insisting that reliable data is unnecessary, after all, it allows their claims of ‘thousands of babies saved’ to go unsubstantiated, and unsubstantiatable.

Mind you, when their ‘saved” babies are nothing more than born in a hospital, and remaining in a hospital until children’s services come to pick the kid up and enter them into the foster system the whole scheme sounds far less dramatic than the “saved (from ‘potentially murderous mothers’) babies!”

But then that’s the babydump laws for you, marketing and rebranding at it’s best, (well that and a paycheck for the dump pimps.)

7 Responses to “Still more Border Babies routinely relabeled “safe haven saves” in OH, NJ, MI, and KY”

  1. Marley Greiner Says:

    Thanks for writing this. I’ve been fooling around with my blog on this all week, and hope to have it up today. (real life keeps getting in the way). I have documented the Ohio “tracking system.” which is simply an annual 2-sentence email to counties asking them the number of dump cases. No state mandate, no collection criteria, no follow-up, no feedback It”s whatever somebody at the county JFS wants to call a “safe haven. (The Juvenile Court has the ultimate jurisdiction), but those records are “confidential.” Dump hearings aren’t even listed on the docket, so you just can’t go and sit in.

    The only baby dump proponent I’ve ever seen complain about this lack of tracking is a columnist from the Sacramento Bee a few years ago. Everyone else thinks it’s fine and dandy that the state–or the kitchen table pimps–make up their figures as they go along. This has got to stop. I’ve been told by a FL adoption attorney who works with moms to retrieve their babies from the dump, that most of the babies down there are born in hospitals. There’s only a few walk-ins.

    Ohio’s law has already been ruled unconstitutional by Cuyahoga County judge Peter Sikora, but since the state didn’t appeal the decision, and the parent(s) didn’t try to get the kid back, it sits alone.

    I’ve never heard of a case where the baby was not returned to the parent(s) or a relative upon request (and DJS investigation) Courts and the state know that outside proof abuse or neglect, if they refuse to return the kid, there will be a big court challenge. While we believe that “SH” is a public right issue (that is, it puts every family in Ohio at danger), so far the OSC has not agreed with us–so standing is the big problem. If a parent petitions for return and they get what they want, they’re happy and won’t challenge the constitutionally of the law. But one of these days, somebody will challenge; most likely a dad with some legal savvy, and it will hit the fan.

  2. Melissa Says:

    I live in michigan and in 2001 I gave my son up under the save delivery law. I was 16 and had delivered him at home. I was terrified and called an adoption agency out fear she directed me to the hospital and told me to tell the emergency room staff safe delivery I had no idea what that meant or what was about to happen the social worker said she would meet me there ha of course she would. This law is full of holes. I have custody of my son now and hes 8 years old healthy smart and perfect but the battle of getting my newborn back was horrible the state had no provisions for what would happen if I changed my mind the adoption agency fought me so hard they even lied in court they tried everything to keep my baby they took advantage of me and the law it makes me sick to know that the same people who abused the law to begin with are now the ones running the training program. What an industry. I’ve read the statistics for michigan and your article right on I’m one of the the very few on there that wasnt a 40 yearold women who gave birth in a hospital. I never had any intentions on throwing my baby in a trash can nor did I want to abandon my baby under such a law but was in shock from delivering a butt breach baby and was terriffied because I hid my pregnancy. The adoption agency I dealt with was evil and self serving and repeatedly tried to talk me out of filing for custody telling how I would regret my child and it would ruin my life which none of that is true my son is the best part of my life hes an amazing little boy. Something needs to be done about these laws its being a abused by all people involved and it disgusts me this law was put into effect to keep young women from throwing newborns in trash cans not to circumvent adoption laws among other things its been used for . how can this law even be used for what its intended for when the young women it was created for arent even aware or educated on it. Which is probably why a young women was just on the news a couple days ago here in michigan because she threw her newborn in a dumpster. These laws need to be fixed .

  3. Melissa Says:

    I also forgot to mention that i changed my mind the next day and made the adoption agency and the hospital aware of my decision right away but it took 5 weeks and cost my parents about 20,000 dollars to regain custody of my baby

  4. Baby Love Child Says:

    Thank you very much for sharing your first hand experiences Melissa. Your perspective is invaluable.

    What city/county did this take place in?

    Your comments deserve more attention that merely going through on this piece, please check back in the next 24 hours or so, as I hope to find time to put together an actual post up pertaining to them.

  5. Melissa Says:

    Well I Delivered My son in the city of westland which is in wayne county I also live in the same city so when I filed for custody my attorney filed in wayne county since as the child custody laws state that you must file either where the child was born , where the mother resides or where the child is currently since the adoption agency refused to tell my attorney which county my son was we filed in wayne county and had an order to return custody within the first week but the adoption agency filed in macomb and refused to return custody until the macomb court hearing they then proceed to lie and say that I knew where my child was located and filed in wayne county anyways but how could I have known where they placed my child. When I called the social worker to make her aware of my decision she had placed my baby with the prospective adopted parents then when I called she removed my baby to a host family which I found out later after the fact that was in gensee county which was niether of the three locations of which paperwork should have been filed in. I had the host mother subpoena who I loved dearly she was very sweet to me and let me visit during the 5 week custody battle and gave me all the photos she had taken of my baby in those weeks because she had the baby in gensee county already when the adoption agency filed with the court in macomb county. They tried everything to keep my son. The social worker gave me a paper to sign while I was at the hospital in complete shock and loaded with demoral when my attorney requested the paper I signed they never gave it up. I had absolutely no recollection of what the paper even said and they eventually in the end when I regained custody tried to sue me for their legal fees. This topic is very near to my heart and I swore when my son came home that I was gonna do something about it but I’m still trying to find a platform to do it from. Thanks so much!

  6. Baby Love Child Says:

    As promised, I’ve done a post specifically highlighting Melissa’s comments:

    A critical perspective on the “baby safe haven”/babydump programs

    I will be adding a copy of Melissa’s third comment over on that post as well.

    Again Melissa, thank you for taking the time to write your story and share it here. It has all the hallmarks of exactly what some of us have been deeply concerned about: playing the shell game county to county of ‘where’s the kid?,’ going after Mothers for court costs, etc.

  7. Jane Says:

    Melissa’s story is heartbreaking
    Thankfully with a happy ending, but still heartbreaking that she missed out on those precious weeks with her son.
    Shame on all those involved!!!! in trying to steal her baby in the first place rather than assisting a very frightened and shocked teenage girl!

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