Japan Has Drop Box For Unwanted Babies

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    A nurse carrying a baby doll demonstrates the Jikei Hospital's baby drop-off system as the new procedure is unveiled to the media in the southern city of Kumamoto, Japan, Tuesday, May 1, 2007. The Catholic-run hospital kicked off an anonymous baby drop for unwanted infants Thursday, May 10, 2007 amid warnings from top government officials that parents should not easily resort to the service, official said. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

    By MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press Writer Thu May 10, 5:09 PM ET

    TOKYO - A Japanese hospital opened the country's only anonymous drop box for unwanted infants Thursday despite government admonitions against abandoning babies.
    The baby drop-off, called "Crane's Cradle," was opened by the Catholic-run Jikei Hospital in the southern city of Kumamoto as a way to discourage abortions and the abandonment of infants in unsafe public places. The hospital described it as a parent's last resort.
    A small hatch on the side of the hospital allows people to drop off babies in an incubator 24 hours a day, while an alarm will notify hospital staff of the new arrival. The infants will initially be cared for by the hospital and then put up for adoption.
    "We started the service but hope it won't be used," head nurse Yukiko Tajiri said. "I hope it is seen as a symbol that we are always here for parents to share their difficulty."
    But government officials warned the service might only encourage more abandonments.
    "In principle, parents should not abandon their babies anonymously," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters Thursday. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki meanwhile said it was "fundamental for parents to raise their children with their own hands."
    Similar baby drops exist in Germany and South Africa. Some U.S. states, such as Alabama and Minnesota, also have programs protecting identities of women who give up their babies.
    The drop box was set up after a series of high-profile cases in which newborn babies were abandoned in parks and supermarkets, triggering a public outcry.

  2. we also have those in austria and german...
  3. That's very similar to the Baby Safe Haven program. If a teenager isn't ready to be a parent, they can anonymously leave the child at a hospital or fire station, no questions asked.
  4. Wow. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, it's great that all the unwanted babies will eventually be able to have a home and parents that love them, but on the other, wouldn't this encourage women/girls to have unprotected sex (like, "Oh I can always give it away if I get pregnant?"). I don't know... it's not a bad idea but there's always downsides to everything. Just my 2 cents.
  5. Wow, I never heard of this before. I suppose it's better than a baby being abandoned somewhere it could freeze to death but this just seems so sad!
  6. ^^ I agree. And that's what these safe havens hope to avoid: scared teenage girls having babies and throwing them away/abandoning them.
  7. I guess it's better for the babies to have a safe place to go rather than them being abandoned. Here in the US you can drop babies at fire houses, hospitals, and churches, but personally I feel that is not a good option. I think it gives people the easy way out so they know if they get pregnant they can just give up the baby anonomously. Instead of with adoption agency which would probably be much better.
  8. It's not as easy as, "Oh, well, if I get pregnant, I can just leave it at the fire station."

    It's "Oh, my God. I'm pregnant. My boyfriend wants nothing to do with me, I don't want my parents to know. I don't want anyone to know."

    Those girls that leave babies in trash cans or dumpsters do that because they don't want ANYone to know they're pregnant.
  9. They have that in California, anyone can drop off a newborn at a firestation or hospital, however, sadly, almost daily a newborn is found in a dumpster.
  10. Yes, people leave them in Dumpsters in the U.S. even though they could bring them to a fire station, church, etc. It's sad. I'm glad they have something like that in Japan. Who knows if it helps but hopefully so.
  11. I guess it's better than a dumpster...
  12. Trust me-no one goes around thinking, "YAY! Now I can have oodles of unprotected sex because if I get pregnant, I can lug the baby around inside of me for nine months and endure hours upon hours of labor while having my vagina stretched out to the size of a watermelon because now there's a baby drop box! Wheeee! Bring on the peen!"

    Do people think that's actually why people give up their babies on the side of the road or that giving up your baby is an "easy" option?

    It's done by people who are scared out of their minds or not mentally well enough to take care of a child and are too scared to deal with their families or the authorities. This isn't an option for someone who found themselves accidentally pregnant (which doesn't always mean unprotected sex. Birth control isn't 100% effective), and wants to give their child up for adoption.
  13. i agree wholeheartedly.

    Georgia has a safe haven program, which i think is wonderful - it's so inappropriate for us to judge people that are at least TRYING to do the right thing by taking the baby someplace where it can get medical attention and be cared for. usually the people that utilize these sorts of programs have no way of giving the baby the care it needs, medical or otherwise.
  14. Totally agree, and personally think the drop box idea, where the baby will quickly be discovered and you know there will be someone there right away to care for it, is a great idea. Ideally, everyone would be able to care for their offspring, but really, I'm not sure it's a great idea to limit the options of people who know they can't. Every child deserves a loving home, and if the birth parents cannot provide it, the child deserves to be abandoned in a safe way.
  15. I saw an anonymous baby surrender box in downtown Florence, Italy, when I visited there.

    The the floor of place where the baby is placed is on a turntable. The baby is placed, the turntable is moved so the baby faces inside the convent, then the donor rings a bell to let the convent know there is a baby for them.

    I think these are wonderful. The baby will be cared for and placed in a loving home. The mother and her family are not shamed.