Thursday, May 10, 2007

Japan Starts to Get It

Japan's first "baby hatch", where parents can drop off unwanted infants anonymously, opened Thursday despite opposition from the conservative national government.

The baby hatch, modelled on a project in Germany, went into operation at a Roman Catholic hospital in the city of Kumamoto, some 900 kilometres (560 miles) southwest of Tokyo.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has urged Japan to return to "family values," opposed the idea but found no legal grounds to stop it. Sounds like a Neo-Con

"A mother must not leave her child or abandon him or her anonymously," Abe told reporters. Better for mama-san to get abortion, I guess

"I want mothers to seek help first if they have problems," said Abe, who is childless after unsuccessful attempts with his wife Akie.

Government spokesman Yasuhisa Shiozaki added: "Even at a hospital facility, abandoning a baby still should not be tolerated.

"It is the government's role to help parents raise children on their own." Well, it is the Church role to save lives.

Since the hospital announced plans to set up the hatch in November, it has reportedly received about 40 inquiries.

Advocates say the plan, if replicated, could help boost the dwindling birth rate in Japan, where abortion is widely accepted.

The city of Kumamoto approved the Jikei Hospital's plan in April after deciding it did not violate any laws.

Called "the cradle of storks," the hatch is set into the wall of the hospital's lobby like a mailbox.

It has a door, 50 centimetres (20 inches) by 60 centimetres (24 inches), with a drawing of two storks carrying a baby and a message reading, "Please leave something with the baby."

When the door is opened, a nurse is alerted by an alarm. There is an intercom next to the door to encourage parents to contact hospital staff.


M. Alexander said...

I'm ambivalent about this. I understand what you are saying but aren't we giving up here a little too quickly?

Thomas Shawn said...

I'm not ambivalent. Every hospital on the planet needs one of these.

M. Alexander said...

I guess what I'm saying here is how can a baby be "unwanted"? As a mother it's hard to get my mind around that idea?

I guess it's reality. But that doesn't make it any easier. I'd rather the ambivalent mother bring the baby to me, or the baby's grandmother or someone who loves babies. Why is it that we need a baby drop off for a baby to go into anonymous hands? Why don't mothers know of someone who wants a baby?

The breakdown of community I suppose.

I'm an idealist and I love babies. I won't apologize.