Drop Boxes for Unwanted Babies: ‘Cruel’ and ‘Traumatizing’

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  • Banish ‘Retirement’
  • Don’t Blame Private Equity
  • Universal Public Service

It looks like a library book drop, but it’s really a place for parents to surrender their newborns.Credit…Kaiti Sullivan for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “With Roe Gone, a Safe Alternative for Desperate Mothers” (news article, Aug. 7), about the use of drop boxes for unwanted babies:

I don’t think I have read an article that more clearly epitomizes how dystopian this country is becoming.

Can pro-life proponents be so intent on preventing a loss of “life” by abortion that they are blind to the damage caused to a woman who has been forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to have her then drop her baby into a receptacle similar to a trash chute?

During pregnancy, even an unwanted one, most women develop an attachment to and feelings for the fetus growing inside her. To part with that baby is unbearably painful to most women.

This drop box concept is cruel, traumatizing and soul-destroying and would merely exacerbate the feelings of guilt, sorrow and loss these women experience. I understand that it is a safer alternative to just dumping the newborn, but very few women do that, and to see it as a solution that is preferable to abortion is heartless and impractical.

I hope this article galvanizes those who have not yet joined the fight to regain women’s rights to awaken and do so.

J. Mundy-Rosner
Gig Harbor, Wash.

To the Editor:

I was dropped into the foster care system at the age of 1. I started at an orphanage and was then passed from foster care home to foster care home. I was no Little Orphan Annie singing about the sunshine. I experienced great trauma. But I was one of the lucky ones; I graduated from high school.

However approximately 50 percent of children in the system do not graduate. Many of these young people end up homeless. The foster system runs at a cost of $9 billion per year. Add to that the cost of supporting unaccompanied homeless youth (that includes kids from the foster care), which runs at an annual cost of up to $50,000 per child, and the burden to taxpayers is enormous.

Justices Samuel Alito and Amy Coney Barrett: Our foster care system is a very expensive American tragedy. Imagining that baby drop boxes would be the answer for women who are unable or unwilling to raise a child is naïve at best and will do nothing to improve the condition of these abandoned children. It will only add more children into an already broken system.

S. Smith
Boise, Idaho

To the Editor:

Safe haven drop boxes — a modern, humane invention? Think again. As far back as the 12th century convents and churches installed closed turntable structures known as “foundling wheels.” Thought to be necessary to save the lives of children whose parents for reasons of stigma or poverty might expose them to the elements or neglect to feed them, these devices were phased out as 19th- and 20th-century law reform decriminalized bastardy, fornication, adultery and abortion. Everything old is new again.

Mindy Jane Roseman
New Haven, Conn.
The writer is director of the Gruber Program for Global Justice and Women’s Rights at Yale Law School.

To the Editor:

The safe haven movement is yet more evidence of anti-abortionists’ total disregard for the well-being of women. How isolated a woman must feel (and be) to resort to such desperate measures, and the solution here is to isolate her with her secret, and to provide no support. The assertion that “when a woman is given options, she will choose what’s best for her” with regard to these cases is laughable.

Ronnie Halperin
Easton, Md.

To the Editor:

I write from Pennsylvania, where our conservative legislators fight tooth and nail to get rid of drop boxes for voting, charging that they are not safe and secure. Now the same folks want us to expand drop boxes for actual babies? Forgive my confusion, but if it’s secure enough for babies it should be secure enough for ballots.

Shari Jacobson
Lewisburg, Pa.

Banish ‘Retirement’

Credit…Damon Winter/The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Retiring? It Doesn’t Seem to Be the Right Word,” by Kurt Streeter (Sports of The Times, front page, Aug. 10):

It’s not just Serena Williams’s fans who may question if “retirement” is the right word for what she is doing right now. I have long argued that we need a new word to replace this outdated label from an earlier time.

The word “retirement” seemed to work back when most people stopped work at about the same (older) age and usually withdrew from most activities to a life of trips to the Grand Canyon, gardening and hobbies.

Today, people live longer, change careers many times and, even when they stop working, often continue being active in another form of work or serious endeavor.

I remember a colleague who came to his department after retirement only on Saturdays, when no one else was around, to get his mail. He got tired of being bombarded by all the “How is retirement?” questions from well-meaning colleagues on weekday visits.

Another friend of mine refuses to use the word at all. It is, after all, a fraught word, loaded with stereotypical, unrealistic expectations and a touch of ageism.

Having now left the university myself, I too struggle with what word to use, and mostly end up using “retired” for lack of another option. But I wish I had a better word. It’s time to retire the word “retirement.”

Rebecca S. Fahrlander
Bellevue, Neb.
The writer is a recently retired adjunct professor of psychology and sociology who previously worked in corporate management.

Don’t Blame Private Equity

Credit…Getty Images

To the Editor:

Re “Private Equity Doesn’t Want You to Read This,” by Farhad Manjoo (column, nytimes.com, Aug. 4):

Based on my experience as C.E.O. of several private equity-owned telecommunications companies for the past 21 years, I disagree strongly with this portrayal of private equity.

For example, contrary to what Mr. Manjoo suggests, with private equity backing we took a poorly run company and by installing professional management and prudently using debt meaningfully increased employment, did not lay off a single employee including during the Great Recession, found ways to reduce our business customers’ bills during that recession, and grew to provide critical and life-sustaining communications services to a growing set of underserved communities.

There are many studies that highlight similar outcomes, and many examples of non-private-equity-owned companies that took on too much debt and/or were mismanaged and failed. Blaming private equity for upheaval in the retail sector is like blaming the stock market for the demise of the horse and buggy industry: It was going to happen irrespective of the capital source. Private equity is far from a universally destructive force.

Michael Gottdenker

Universal Public Service

To the Editor:

As our nation expands the number of its commitments around the world, from Ukraine and most of Europe to Taiwan, Japan and South Korea, it is past time to ask all young Americans to devote two years to public service, either in the military or in our public health agencies.

It is not too much to ask that Americans between 18 and 25 take part in training and service so that in times of crisis we can call on a larger number of people to staff the nation’s defense, whether against military adversaries or in the fight against pandemics.

We should begin these preparations in advance so that we are prepared to meet the challenges ahead.

John C. Merson
Siasconset, Mass.

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