Here’s an interesting Boston Review article written in general support of the notion of “baby boxes” or “safe surrender sites” – places where parents may anonymously abandon unwanted infants. Defenders of the practice maintain that these sites are important for reducing infanticide and illegal abandonment, but the practice has still come under scrutiny, particularly from the United Nations.

Charlotte Witt suggests, however, that criticisms of “baby boxes” are simply “symptomatic of the widespread acceptance of a bionormative conception of the family and the corresponding prejudice against families formed in other ways,” and by “other ways,” she presumably is speaking of adoption. In Witt’s mind, this “widespread acceptance of a bionormative conception of the family” is really the root of the problem, and is entirely unjustifiable – and she arrays an impressive set of studies and anecdotes to make her point.

What she fails to acknowledge, however, is that there is an equally impressive set of studies and anecdotes on the other side, and far more importantly, that there is a “bionormative” family. You need one man and one woman to make one baby. Period. This is not up for debate. And while the notion that the two people who actually produce a child shouldn’t necessarily be the ones to raise the child resurfaces from time to time (in dystopian-style societies, usually), the inferential gap from producing a child to raising a child is really not very wide. As such, Witt can try as hard as she likes to explain away the “prejudice” for the traditional, “bionormative,” nuclear family, but I should hope that she doesn’t get very far. The traditional family is both economical and, well, bio-logical.