As North Dakota potentially enters into the era of no in-state abortion providers, we at Momabears acknowledge that abortions served a niche market, that adoptions, pregnancy centers, and North Dakota’s Safe Haven legal system do not. The “Every Child, Every Family Project” seeks to raise community awareness for the needs of pregnant individuals and the children they carry within our state. We believe that we must meet people’s needs with solutions that promote and provide for life for all.
The “Every Child, Every Family Project” will raise money to purchase and install Infant Shelters at appropriate locations across the state. The Project will to raise money to fund a crowd-sourced awareness campaign to provide information about Infant Shelters and all resources and avenues available to pregnant individuals and new parents. Further, the “Every Child, Every Family Project” will provide donors with the ability to direct their support to each of the above activities or to directly support current Pregnancy Centers already in operation across the state.
Momabears.com will coordinate with state and local officials, as well as existing pro-life, non-profit organization to assist with these activities. In general, the fundraising portion of the project will consist of three primary activities:
- An online campaign utilizing online donation options and a social media presence
- Local awareness events
- Encouraging and supporting local communities is establishing their own similar project
What’s an Infant Shelter?
An Infant Shelter is essentially a locking incubator that is initially accessible from the outside then locked, so that an infant may be safely surrendered, with a measure of anonymity. In keeping with the North Dakota Safe Haven Law, we would seek to install the boxes with an ID bracelet dispenser that is accessible to the individual, or individuals, placing an infant in the Infant Shelter.
What is the Safe Haven Law?
Beginning in 2000, North Dakota became Safe Haven state. a Safe Haven state. The law allows a parent to surrender an infant under one year of age to specific state authorized officials, when they follow the correct legal steps. The law only applies to the specific situation where there is no evidence of neglect or abuse, the parent or guardian is asked to complete necessary paperwork (N.D.C.C. 50-25.1-05(5)) and is able to wait for processing. Per Marly Baker, the Child Protective Services Administrator for the North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services in 2021, the state has no record of the Safe Haven Law ever being used.
Why do we need to do more?
Abortion is a relatively quick procedure that has a very high level of anonymity. There are no truly similar legal options available to pregnant individuals, new parents, struggling parents, nor individuals trying to provide an escape from abuse or neglect for their child.
Why doesn’t our current system work?
In 2009, an infant was abandoned outside of a Grand Forks Fire Department. More than one year later, authorities were publicly pursuing identifying and prosecuting the parents of this child. State programs are focused on keeping the child with the parent. When the state is focused on charging parents struggling to do the best for their infant, even when that means giving up their child, and when the state is focused on requiring parents to keep children, even if they don’t want to – these focuses are contrary to the stated purpose of the Safe Haven Law and the family and life supporting culture of our state.
What steps must be taken to bring Infant Shelters to North Dakota?
While North Dakota has a Safe Haven Law, the current law requires a non-anonymous relinquishment that does not allow Safe Haven locations to accept abused or neglected infants. This law must be changed in order to meet the needs of pregnant individuals who would potentially choose an abortion, struggling parents, and most importantly infants in need. However, changing the law is not the first step.
The first step is to develop a clearly defined, citizen backed, movement across the state. We must decide to be a state that supports every child and every family, not only those who have no need for abortion services. To accomplish that step Momabears will:
- Partner with individuals and organizations across North Dakota
- Engage a state-wide campaign to inform individuals about the needs of infants and pregnant individuals that are forgotten with the current system. This is not an “ad campaign” but city by city event system, where a movie on the topic of solutions for abandoned children will be available for viewing, personal testimony of the needs of individuals not being met through the current system will be presented, and discussion of The Every Child Every Family Project and its goals will take place. This will include a social media presence and some traditional “ad campaign” style activities.
- Assist individuals with contacting state and local officials to meet established goals- particularly adjusting current law to meet the very real needs of pregnant individuals and infants
- Raise funds for the purchase, installation and maintenance of Infant Shelters
- Create, conduct and fund a state-wide awareness campaign
The very first of these steps to develop the grass roots awareness of the need for change. Fundraising activities will be on going throughout the campaign. Each Infant Shelter is expected to be up to $20,000.
Raising awareness will not only include local discussions and meeting the legal challenges, it will require that a certified Infant Shelter meeting each locations/communities needs be purchased and the necessary installation and maintenance funds be ready to go as a demonstration of our commitment to every child and every family.
What can you do?
This project will take all of us.
- You can help by being willing to talk to others about it.
- Contact a local leader and help us coordinate an event.
- Pray for North Dakotans to focus on improving options for those in need.
- Pray for the right words to be used and heard to foster growth of this project.
- Donate to Momabears either through givesendgo/momabears or by sending a gas card so that we can travel the state to raise awareness
The Every Child, Every Family Project’s main goal is to establish an Infant Shelter within every city with a college or university within North Dakota. Specifically, those cities are:
Initially, the bulk of fund raising will go towards the purchase, installation and maintenance of boxes at the above locations. Additionally, funds will be utilized for the awareness campaign and promotion of the Infant Shelters successfully placed.
Once the Infant Shelters have been established within each of these cities, funds raised by The Every Child Every Family Project, will be cover shelter maintenance (including a vandalism recovery fund) and an informational campaign to inform the public, especially current and prospective parents about baby boxes and all options available to them to protect every child and every family.
Momabears’ policy is to publish funding and expense information online at Momabears.com/blog. All financial data is public upon request, unless a donor, client, or related individual has requested anonymity.