Baby boxes: A safe way to abandon unwanted babies? (VIDEO)
I had never heard of a baby box until earlier today when I read a BBC article that explained its rising popularity in Europe. It turns out that many countries in that continent, particularly Germany, have boxes in which parents can leave their unwanted babies no questions asked. The boxes, usually in secluded areas in the back of hospitals, are heated and monitored by nurses. The article describes one of the boxes in a suburb of Berlin as a "stainless steel hatch with a handle." Once the handle is pulled, one can find baby blankets and a letter explaining what to do if you change your mind.
Reading the article and looking at the photos of the hatches was heartbreaking because I imagined just how difficult it must be for a mom to pull that handle, deposit her baby in there and then turn around and walk away.
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Then again, I guess that for many women this must be the only option and I'd much rather read articles about baby boxes than about unwanted babies being killed or abandoned in dumpsters. You and I both know that, as harsh as it sounds, there are many women out there who weren't born to be mothers and we see the consequences of that every day in the news.
I truly see these baby boxes as the best way to allow a mother to give up her unwanted baby while still making sure it's safe. Once the baby is in the hatch, an alarm goes off alerting medical staff. The baby is cared for at the hospital, then sent to a foster home until entering the legal system for adoption. Up until this last step, the mother is given the option to retrieve her child should she change her mind.
Although there are no specific numbers, there have been several cases in which the mothers have actually returned a few days after leaving their babies in the hatches. Giving the moms that option is what I applaud most about this whole setup.
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Critics say that moms are not always the ones who drop their babies off in these hatches. Sometimes it's family members, fathers and even pimps and so they question whether the women are actually consenting to give up their child. I can obviously see why this is a problem, but again, I have to say that for the sake of the baby, at least the hatches offer him or her a chance to live.
Had you ever heard of baby boxes? What do you think of them? Share your thoughts by leaving us a comment.
Image via Reuters