2006-11-12

Babies, bring out your babies...

Stork Alert! This is just too choice, not to share it in its entirety. It was in the Japan Times on Friday and a new initiative to stave off the declining population has been discovered...Here goes:


Friday, Nov. 10, 2006
<"Don't want your baby? Drop it off."
KUMAMOTO (Kyodo) A hospital here plans to create a drop box where parents can anonymously leave unwanted babies, hospital officials said Thursday.

Jikei Hospital said it will begin the work to create the drop box as soon as it obtains permission from local public health authorities. The hospital wants to set it up by the end of the year.

Drop boxes for abandoned babies have been introduced in Germany, where they are known as a "babyklappe" (baby flap) or "babyfenster" (baby window) in German. In Italy, they are called "culle per la vita" (cradle for life).

A Jikei Hospital official visited Germany, where they are usually set up at hospitals or social centers, in 2004.

Jikei Hospital said its baby drop box, called コウノトリの揺り籠 (or "konotori no yurikago" -cradle of storks), will be a boxlike chamber similar to an incubator, accessible from outside the hospital by opening a window. When a baby is dropped off, an alarm will alert nurses.

The hospital plans to introduce the abandoned babies to an adoption system through the local administration, through which there are some 160 couples across the country who have registered with the Okayama Prefectural Medical Association.

The hospital will also post leaflets informing the parents on how to reclaim their children if they have second thoughts.

Hospital director Shoichi Hasuda said the baby box "is an emergency measure and is not aimed at encouraging parents to abandon babies." He said he hopes to "see a reduction in the number of abandoned newborns and unhappy abortions."

According to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, in fiscal 2004, the number of abortions in the prefecture stood at 5,619, while the nationwide figure came to 301,673. No figures were available on abandoned babies in Japan, which is struggling to find ways to stem a falling birthrate.

This would be the first such facility in Japan, Jikei said. Some institutions in Okayama and Fukuoka prefectures are also eyeing similar initiatives.

Kumamoto Prefectural Police said they will make a judgment based on law and evidence on each case of a baby abandoned if it constitutes a crime.

Article 218 of the Penal Code sets penalties for guardians who have neglected to perform their duties to protect the elderly, infants, disabled or sick people.

The Kumamoto Municipal Government said it has found no problems under medical laws because a hospital can check a baby's health and is there to protect a baby's life.>

Much more effective than birth control or family planning, don't you think?

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