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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Abandonned babies !

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Author Topic: Abandonned babies !
DC_WillowFan
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Hi everyone !
Again in today's newspaper, I was also reading about babies being abandonned. They talked about a girl who gave birth in her bathroom and after delivering the child, she put it in a plastic bag and threw it in a canal that passed behind her dad's house.

And there, they talk that there is a new law that permits to mothers to abandon their babies, in a totally anonymous way, at hospitals of fire departments !

How's that allowed in some states in US (14, and 24 working on something similar ? That I know, there isn't a such thing in Canada. What's your opinion on that ?

David

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- I hope I shall be able to confide in you conpletely, as I have never been able to do in anyone before, and I hope that you will be a great support and comfort to me.

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Aria51
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It's horribly sad when this happens. Luckily, there are programs like the Project Cuddle Baby Rescue Program who have crisis hotlines for women who are considering abandoning their babies.

I actually feel it's good that women can anonymously abaondon their babies in hospitals -- if that's what they were contemplating anyway. The child gets a chance to live and be placed in a loving family instead of freezing, starving, suffocating to death.

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alaska
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I agree with you, Aria, those projects are excellent. They safe lives. Women and girls who abandon their babies after births are often in unbelievably stressful situations, and having the option to "abandon" their kids in a safe environment (we have anyonymous "baby cradles") without fearing they will be prosecuted prevents that they abanson them outside to an unclear fate.

Over here, there is currently an initiative by hospitals to also allow anonymous births (which is usually against the law), so that women who don't plan to keep their babies don't have to give birth all alone or in a public place (if they are homeless). I think that is excellent, too.

Of course I wish those women and girls would get support in advance, but better late than never. We really shouldn't be judging those mothers and look down on them, when they are so desperate that they give birth to their kids alone because, in their flats, on public toilets or wherever and who have no one (or think the have no one) who can help them in their situation.

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Celtic Daisy
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I think that if you are going to abondan your child(for whatever kwazy reason)that being able to do it safely, and knowing they will not be hurt, or treated badly is the best way to do it. I suppose i can see how there could situations where you think ther is no other way out, so at least people won't be leaving there children in a canal, or a garbage can, at the prom.

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Heather
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Many, many, MANY young women do NOT realize nor are told that they have choices when they become pregnant.

Frankly, when our culture has come to the point where a decent number of young women are abandoning newbrons (and it happens far more often than people think), it is our culture -- and the lack of support and information we give young women -- that is the problem. Not the young women.

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LilBlueSmurf
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Hate to contidict ya, David, but there certainly is something like that in Canada. Last time i heard, there was a hospital based program in Hamilton ... Where mothers were able to take their babies to the hospital and leave them there. No questions asked. It sure beats being thrown in a canal, or alley, or dumpster...
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Lin
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Do understand that as Miz Scarlet said, alot of times when young girls get pregnant, they are not aware of the options they have.

In Singapore, there has been a sharp increase in the nuber of abandoned babies. Babies covered with newspapers left to die in rubbish heaps or found in stairwells.

I think the idea of allowing mothers to leave their babies in hospitals or specialised centers is a great idea. For a very simple reason, the babies get a higher chances of survival.

The idea that having such services or such centers means a higher number of babies being abandoned is the same logic as if we have sex education, we will all go out and have sex.

[This message has been edited by Lin (edited 04-26-2001).]


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lemming
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Lin, it's funny how we think that if parents talk to their kids about drugs, they won't become drug users, but we think that if parents talk to their kids about sex, they'll rush right out and do it with anyone that'll sit still.

--

On the abandoned baby topic, however...

A few years ago Texas instituted one of these laws, that you could drop off your baby at a hospital or a fire station with no legal hassle, and as far as I know, there have only been a few takers. Three or five, at my last count. And babies are still being abandoned in dumpsters and whatnot, I'm sure. But if it made a difference for those 3 or 4 or 5 babies, that's good, no?

Yes, I think something should be done before it gets to the point of a woman having this baby and not knowing what to do with it. But I think the option should be open for women to put their newborns in good hands rather than abandoning them to the elements.

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alaska
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Same here, lemming. At the "Babyklappe Sternipark" in Hamburg, which was the first place where you could "safely" abandon a baby, in the first 16 months of service, they saved 8 kids who were either "abandoned" at the cradle, given up by their moms after calls to the helpline or born in "anonymous " births in hospitals. There was no "babyboom" there.

In Germany, we have 22 places today (in many large cities and actually several in Hamburg & Berlin), where babies can be safely given up into good care.

Sternipark has since started to offer housing for pregnant women in problematic situations; they can live with "host families" and don't even have to say their real name, while they can make up their mind about whether they want to raise their babies themselves or not.

A great project, I think, that tries to cover all sides of the issue.


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alaska
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Oy, I just discovered Sternipark has an english website, too. Check it out, have a look, it's fab people who are doing this and it's well thought through, I tell ya.
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BruinDan
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x

[This message has been edited by BruinDan (edited 09-26-2002).]


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alaska
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Oh, I might add that in legal terms, over here in Germany, any mother "abandoning" her baby by dropping it off at a hospital or at another public place where the baby will most definitely be found (police stations etc) and cared for, won't have to face prosecution for it if she decides to indeed raise the child after all. The stand is that women who have just given birth alone and at home are most likely not able to oversee their situation completely and see all the options at hand.

Usually, if a baby is found, the mother will usually get a chance to notify authorities within a specific time frame to see whether she might not raise the child herself after all.


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$uMMeR
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That's true, Miz Scarlet. Many girls aren't aware of the choices they have if they become pregnant.

In Malaysia, and Singapore, I think, there are a lot of abandoned babies.

In Malaysia, unfortunately, girls probably don't have a choice - Muslim girls anyway (there's a special court which only applies to Muslims over here).

Here, if a Muslim girl becomes pregnant, she is not allowed to put the father's name on the birth certificate, get any support from him, and on top of all that, probably has to pay a fine to go with it. Abortion isn't allowed (except in cases where it could threaten the mother's life). No wonder so many girls have resolved to abandoning their children.

Can you believe that? A country which is probably going to be a developed one by the year 2020, and Muslim women don't have the right to decide...?

Maybe I should run for PM. I'll tell you how things turn out.

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[This message has been edited by $uMMeR (edited 04-27-2001).]


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alaska
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Thanks for that, $ummer. Very sad.

Did I get that right, there are special courts/laws for muslims? How would the law be for someone of another belief system that's common in Malaysia (ie. Buddhism, Hinduism)? I know that while you have a "state religion" (islam), your constitution is supposed to give religious freedom. Would you say this works, and do girls of other belief systems suffer similar probs (i.e. it's not jsut from teh religious background, but from society in general)?

(Hope you don't mind me asking).


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$uMMeR
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Not at all, Alaska.

I'm more than happy to explain.

Yes, Alaska, there are some special courts for Muslims. They do not practice Hudud law (ie. better known for cutting off one's hand for stealing) nor do they advocate it. The one main fear among non-Muslims and even some Muslims is that if PAS, the Islamic political party here, came to power, they would practice Hudud law, and not only that, but enforce it on non-Muslims too. Thankfully, we don't have to worry about that at the moment, seeing as they only have support in two states at the moment.

I don't think there is any court for Buddhists or Hindus here; if there is I've never heard of one (by the way, the main religions are:- Islam 53%, Buddism 17%, Confucianism 12%, Christianity 9% and Hinduism 7%).

As to wether the law on religious freedom works - I actually think it does.

As for your last question - that's a bit tricky. Perhaps, religiously, they don't - but socially, especially if they're in the less developed states, they probably can and will. But in KL, you can almost definitely find the right type of crowd you're looking for - and you'd find a lot of comfort in them.

At the moment, all I can say about this country is each day it is becoming more developed and more liberal minded, especially KL - I realize this may seem like nothing to a lot of you folk, but I was stunned to read an article in the paper the other day with the word "dogshit". I was used to the more informal touch in articles, with the occasional "bitch" or other slangs. But "dogshit"...hell, I just felt like screaming!

I hope I've answered your questions, Alaska. Just send me an email at summer_chiq@hotmail.com if you got any other queries. Cya!

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alaska
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Thanks a lot, $ummer. I'll get back to you if I ever have some more questions. Thanks!
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DC_WillowFan
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LilBlueSmurf, I never heard of it. Is there any website about it ?

And of course it helps many girls and women to have such programs but I also think it's quite sad to see mothers abandonning their newborn. After all, isn't it the best gift given to women ?

David

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- I hope I shall be able to confide in you conpletely, as I have never been able to do in anyone before, and I hope that you will be a great support and comfort to me.

Anne Frank to her journal
(1929-1945)


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Milke
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Giving birth to a baby releases incredible amounts of powerful hormones into a woman's body; many of which remain for a good time afterwards. A year or two ago, a woman in Toronto was killedby throwing herself in front of a subway train. She was a perfectly normal, normally sane person who was suffering serious postpartum depression, and was afraid for herself and her child. Her state led her to take measured that she normally would likely never have dreamed of. This was an extreme case, but it might help you understand just how tough figuring out what the 'right thing' to do is for a woman or girl who's tired, alone, afraid, and unaware of her options. Especially when being found to have had sex at all can have very serious penalties.
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Lin
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David, there is no answer to your question on whether a child is the best gift to women.

Because not every woman believes that a child is the most wonderful thing in the world. And to have such expectations of us women is just wrong.

We are given the ability to give birth but it does not mean that we all have to. And it does not mean that when we do give birth, we all have to keep the babies.

Of course it is sad to see abandoned babies. But the issue here is not whether it is sad or not. It is about ensuring that these abandoned babies be given the chance to live. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with being able to legally leave your baby at a hospital or fire station.

Bringing up a child is not an easy thing to do and it is not something all women are prepared to do. And when these women get desperate, the result is abandoned babies in stairwells and rubbish dumps.

And Caro hon, yep we have such courts specialising in Muslim laws as well. Because simply, Muslims have their own set of rules very different from what is set by the government. For example the offence 'Khalwat' is committed when an unmarried couple stand or sit too close to each other after dark. This is the Brunei definition, Summer, feel free to jump in if this isn't accurate.

And yes, Kuala Lumpur is very developed and very much like Singapore but because of Muslim laws, you can find policemen at pubs and clubs conducting raids to check if any Muslims are drinking alcohol and if any girls are dressed inappropriately.

Speaking of KL, I will be there in a week. Such joy.


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$uMMeR
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Woah...

That's the Brunei definition...OK, I won't yell or anything, I just think that's a bit wierd...it even says somewhere in the Qur'an that khalwat is sex b4 marriage...

So you'll be in KL, Lin? Enjoy it. Oh yeah, and remember to visit KLCC...hell, I sound like a talking advertisment...if my parents forgive me for flunking Food Science I'll wave a hand out for you

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*Read my diary

*Read my page

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[This message has been edited by $uMMeR (edited 04-28-2001).]


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$uMMeR
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PS. Yeah true, the cops do do that every now and then...there was outrage at something like that recently...anywayz, um, enjoy your trip

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Only In Dreams
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quote:
Originally posted by LilBlueSmurf:
Hate to contidict ya, David, but there certainly is something like that in Canada. Last time i heard, there was a hospital based program in Hamilton ... Where mothers were able to take their babies to the hospital and leave them there. No questions asked. It sure beats being thrown in a canal, or alley, or dumpster...

Yeah. I'm in support of those programs, because it's disgusting what things happen to some of these babies. At least now, they'll be able to have a loving family and a life!


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alaska
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Sorry to refresh this old topic, but I stumbled over a story today, that I thought would most certainly be interesting for everyone...

It's called "Lauren's Choice" ( which I think isn't terribly fitting because I think she failed to make a choice, really), and is a report about a teen from Michigan who hid her pregnancy, gave birth alone at home and abandoned her son, who died as a result.
Throughout her pregnancy, several people knew about it, but she still pretended that she wasn't pregnant. Her partner had known she was pregnant and thought her rounded belly came from fluid and tissue retention from an abortion she claimed she had had. He had unprotected sex with her until 4 days before she gave birth.

Reading this all made me very sad. It showed yet again how important a good parent/child relationship in which sexuality isn't taboo; it showed how dangerous it is when parents say "if you ever get pregnant your father will shoot you". It shows that you shouldn't be having intercourse if you can't do so safely & protectedly and have the funds for an abortion (she went to a clinic, but the cost and the parental notification scared her off) or can otherwise live with a pregnancy and handle it.

So have a look at this, people.

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Caro
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"We must become the change we want to see."
Mahatma Gandhi

[This message has been edited by Alaska (edited 06-20-2001).]


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KittenGoddess
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That makes me very sad. There are SOOO many families out there who would have loved to adopt that baby, so many couples who pray for a child every night. And yet there are still people leaving babies out to die.

It all comes down to changing the attitude we have about teenage pregnancy. Yes, encouraging birth control and waiting until your ready is definatley the way to go. But making statments about how it will "break your grandmother's heart", or how your father will shoot you...well, I think it's pretty apparent that kind of attitude just doesn't work.

I also think it's interesting to note that after her boyfriend knew she'd gotten pregnant and thought she'd had an abortion, they were still having unprotected sex. If that isn't a cry for more (better) sex ed, I don't know what is.

~KittenGoddess

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