Friday, October 28, 2005

A civilized way to abandon infants ?

Europe reviving 'baby slots'
By the Associated Press

For centuries, desperately poor mothers came to the Annunziata church to push their newborns into a dark slot within a wooden turntable in a convent wall. A few turns, they hoped, and their child would have a better life.

From medieval times or earlier, women across Europe resorted to systems like "the wheel" to abandon infants they were too poor or ashamed to keep.

Such arrangements were abolished more than a century ago as uncivilized. But increasingly frequent news reports about babies tossed in trash bins or into toilet bowls are prompting modern versions of "the wheel" to make a comeback on the continent.

The systems have names like "babyklappe" (baby slot) in Austria and Germany; "babyfenster" (baby window) in Switzerland and "culle per vite" (cradle for life) in Italy.

Many are sophisticated incubator-like containers that heat up when a baby is placed inside. In some cases an alarm sounds after a few minutes, giving the mother a chance to say goodbye before attendants come to fetch the baby.

Baby slots are increasingly being advocated or considered by doctors and social workers who say Europe's anti-abandonment strategies are inadequate.

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Karim says: I really can't understand how one can be brought to abandon his own progeny, especially in western countries where so much assistance is provided to single moms and to families with modest income.

5 comments:

Karim said...

Actually, the reason why I posted the above article was that I wanted to attract the reader's attention to how something that has been considered at some point as "uncivilized" is now being rehabilitated and accepted. This is a good illustration of the fact that what is considred "civilized" behavior is a very relative notion, than may evolve and change with time. Those of us who live in non-muslim countries, and who rush to abandon some of their islamic practices on the sole pretense that they might be seen as "uncivilised" by their western friends should think twice before doing so...

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