Diana Finegan made her position clear.
The subject was Safe Haven baby boxes at Citrus County fire stations, places where desperate mothers leave their newborns for adoption without fear of being arrested for abandonment.
Commissioner Ruthie Davis Schlabach brought the measure to the County Commission. She said private donations will pay for the boxes.
“I think this is a no-brainer,” Schlabach said. “If it can save one baby’s life, it is well worth it.”
Fellow Commissioner Finegan didn’t see it that way.
“I think putting a baby in a box is completely unethical,” Finegan said. “To me, it’s a little disgusting. It’s like dropping off a urine sample.”
Florida’s Safe Haven law allows parents of unharmed newborns to leave them at fire stations, hospitals or EMS stations without fear of prosecution.
The Safe Haven Baby Box concept started in Indiana and has spread to 14 states across the country.
Hallstern said baby boxes provide a chance for parents to make the right decision regarding their infants, without having to literally hand their baby to another person.
“This box allows you to put the baby in anonymously,” she said. “I would imagine it would be the hardest decision of your life.”
Finegan saw nothing but red flags.
She said the county is liable should anything go wrong. “It’s checked, until it fails,” she said.
Finegan said the county promoting a baby box will encourage mothers to abandon their babies.
“Are we really advertising and advocating putting a baby in a box?” she asked. “A baby is always much safer in the hands of a human being.”
She added: “It’s a very small box, I assume meant for a newborn. What else goes in the box? Toddlers? Animals?”
The board voted 4-1 for the boxes. Citrus Fire Chief Craig Stevens said the county may need an ordinance, since the Safe Haven law does not specifically provide for baby boxes at fire stations.