Saturday, May 12, 2007

Disposable Diapers - Disposable Babies

Just open the hatch and dump the muss, no fuss, no messy human interaction or counseling required... Japan's first "baby hatch", where parents can drop off unwanted infants anonymously, opened Thursday despite opposition from the conservative national government.

Well that's some commentary on the value of life, although I guess this is better than just leaving those poor babies to die somewhere in a trash can. Just think, you can drop your baby in a box, and escape into the night. Abandoning your baby couldn't be easier... a "safe and anonymous" method with none of those rude and intimidating questions they ask down at the police station. Still, we ought to live in a world where no one should feel they have to abandon their child. The article reports this:
The baby hatch, modelled on a project in Germany, went into operation at a Roman Catholic hospital in the city of Kumamoto, some 900 kilometres (560 miles) southwest of Tokyo.

Called "the cradle of storks," the hatch is set into the wall of the hospital's lobby like a mailbox. It has a door, 50 centimetres (20 inches) by 60 centimetres (24 inches), with a drawing of two storks carrying a baby and a message reading, "Please leave something with the baby." When the door is opened, a nurse is alerted by an alarm. There is an intercom next to the door to encourage parents to contact hospital staff.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has urged Japan to return to "family values," opposed the idea but found no legal grounds to stop it. "A mother must not leave her child or abandon him or her anonymously," Abe told reporters. "I want mothers to seek help first if they have problems," said Abe, who is childless after unsuccessful attempts with his wife Akie.

Government spokesman Yasuhisa Shiozaki added: "Even at a hospital facility, abandoning a baby still should not be tolerated. "It is the government's role to help parents raise children on their own."

No babies were left in the hatch during the first hours that it was open.
Germany's program was called "Operation Foundling" or the "Baby Bank" and was begun back in the year 2000 in Hamburg. As for our country and CT in particular, I found this in the Republican-American (Tuesday, February 20, 2007):
Connecticut is one of 47 states with "Safe Haven" laws, which allow mothers to drop newborns off at police stations, firehouses and hospitals anonymously and without punishment. Since its passage in 2000, six newborns have been dropped off anonymously at Connecticut hospitals, says the Department of Children and Families. Five of the six have been adopted. One went back to the original family. During that time period, another four babies were abandoned: in Greenwich in 2001; Brookfield in 2001; Branford in 2004 and Groton in 2006. All four survived. Two of them have been adopted, the DCF says. The department did not release the locations of the hospitals to which the babies were returned.