Baby hatch draws controversy

By Pang Li
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, February 29, 2012
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A baby hatch, set up by Shijiazhuang Social Welfare Institution in Hebei Province last June, has attracted widespread criticism with many arguing that it could encourage irresponsible parents to abandon their babies, China Youth Daily reported.

The baby hatch in Hebei.

The facility, called "Babies' Safe Island," is a small cabin equipped with an incubator and ventilation and painted with bright colors. Intended to allow parents to drop off unwanted infants, the hatch is checked by patrol every two hours.

The institution's director Han Jinhong said it was inspired by similar practices in Germany, Italy, Czech and Russia.

As of the end of January, the facility had received 26 abandoned babies, of whom 18 survived. Most of the children were born with serious deficiencies, some are suspected to be born out of wedlock.

The hatch drew skepticism from its first day. Its initial objections were from the institution staff, who complained that the facility would not only directly increase their workloads and operation risks but also lead to rise in the number of abandoned infants.

Others in the public agreed. Some said that it is against the law to throw away babies and a hatch would "encourage irresponsible people to commit irresponsible deeds."

But Han held a different opinion. "Abandoned babies are not inevitable even in developed countries. It is not possible that a hatch could lead to the increase in the number of irresponsible parents," Han said. "Baby abandonment is an issue that needs collaborative efforts of social security departments and judicial agencies to solve. Charity organizations cannot change the poverty in the society. What we can do is let your children live a life with dignity after you abandon them."

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