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What happens to a baby girl with special needs when she is born in China? One shutters to think about what happens. China took a step in the right direction with a pilot program to create a Baby Hatch in certain cities. The Baby Hatch is a place where a mother can safely and anonymously abandon their new-born babies.
Many Chinese cities have set up baby hatches, which consist of an incubator and a delayed alarm, to protect unwanted newborns in a country where strict family planning laws have been blamed for the high number of baby girls being abandoned.
The program started in 2011 and there are about 25 hatches country wide. Reuters now reports: The baby hatch in Guangzhou which opened on January 28 has so far received 262 abandoned babies, 148 boys and 114 girls, according to the city’s Bureau of Civil Affairs. All the babies suffered from diseases, including 110 cases of cerebral palsy, 39 cases of Down’s syndrome, and 32 cases of congenital heart disease, the bureau said. “Due to an increasing number of abandoned babies at the baby hatch, the orphanage’s ability to receive those babies has reached the limit,” said Xu Jiu, director of Guangzhou Social Welfare Institute, at a briefing.
Baby hatches have sparked concern among some that they may encourage more parents to abandon babies. But Minister of Civil Affairs Li Liguo told reporters during the annual parliament meetings this month that they “do more good than harm”. Twenty-five cities in China have set up baby hatches as a pilot program, according to the official Xinhua news agency. Guangzhou is the first to suspend the program. The city, which is part of China’s Pearl River Delta industrial hub in Guangdong Province where millions of migrant workers live, received more babies than other major cities. Over the first 50 days, 16 unwanted babies were found at the baby hatch in Tianjin, while 25 were found at the one in Nanjing, local papers reported.
Every step must be taken to protect the lives of these unwanted children. Xu Jiu at the briefing said that it could be parents who are unable to cope with the heavy economic burden of trying to treat incurable diseases. “Parents bring their ill babies to big cities in the hope of having them cured. But many just end up abandoning them.”
These children are defenseless and have no rights. The first step is to create a greater awareness of what is happening in China and to support any and all efforts to rectify this unacceptable situation. SAVE THE CHILDREN!