In the United States, we have “safe-haven” laws in all 50 states, which allow children to be left anonymously in designated places (hospitals, fire departments, etc.). Taking a similar initiative, European countries are providing more and more baby “drop boxes” for parents to drop off unwanted babies. They have recently become a big deal in the news because the United Nations (which in my opinion is totally useless) has had the nerve to criticize them.
According to an article in Time, “At a children’s charity in Hamburg, Germany, there’s a steel door to a hatch where unwanted babies can be left anonymously. Once closed, it cannot be opened again from the outside. Established [12 years ago], this is the first of Germany’s now 80-plus baby boxes or baby hatches.” These are what the U.N. is criticizing. The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child issued a statement saying that the boxes are “contravening the right of the child to be known and cared for by his or her parents.”
Well no kidding! That’s the whole point – there aren’t two parents wanting to take care of the kid. Duh!
And guess what? Roughly 30 to 40 babies (that they know about) die each year in Germany because they’ve been abandoned, and about that same number have been left in the hatches since their inception.
It’s an alternative to just letting them die. Are we really that worried about violating a child’s right to a name, nationality, and parents?
We’ve had so many scandals here in the United States regarding this issue. Remember the teenybopper who went to a dance, gave birth, flushed the baby down the toilet, and then went out to finish the dance? A report by the Department of Health and Human Services showed that out of 4 million births in 1998, 108 infants were abandoned. Between December of 2000 and March of 2001, seven babies were found dead in New York City – one thrown out a window in Washington Heights, another dumped in a sewer in Queens, and a third left in a vacant Bronx lot.
So, in my opinion, arguing about whether or not this is a good idea is sort of silly. We’re dealing with people who are not going to take care of their kids anyway, so what are the options? A lot of young women want the anonymity and a lot of babies are saved.
Some of you may take the side of the U.N. and argue back at me that the child has a right to be known by his or her parents because of medical issues that could arise. To that, I just say don’t even bother. In this day and age with the technology we have, the scans we can do, and the blood and genetic tests we can conduct, we don’t need family history to know what your problems are likely to be if you don’t take good care of yourself. A lot of people have genes for a disease, like breast cancer, but they never get it. Some people don’t have the genes for breast cancer and get breast cancer. There’s no guarantee either which way. It’s a specious argument.
Some people might ask, “Hey, but what about the dads?” Well, if the dad has a feeling he’s knocked up somebody and he really wants his child, he can either talk to the woman who’s carrying it, or he can go to the authorities to register his DNA. Some adoption agencies deal with the DNA matchup of the putative father. But I don’t even know the number of fathers in these situations who want their kid.
One of the fellows who organizes safe-haven adoptions says that each year, his crisis line gets about 2,000 calls. Most – 70 percent – decide to keep the baby and raise it with the help of their family. However, 20 percent decide to place the baby in adoption, and 10 percent decide to leave the baby in a safe haven anonymously. That’s one out of 10 kids that gets adopted out with anonymity through a licensed adoption agency. They are placed with mommies and daddies who want them. I say that if the law saves kids, it’s worth it.
It would be nice if only responsible, sane, married moms and dads were the ones having babies, but that’s not the case. I am all for anything which does not result in a baby getting killed for no good reason other than “oops!” That’s why I think the U.N. is being stupid.