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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

UN condemns 'baby boxes' across Europe

By Jacy Meyer


Drop boxes in Europe for unwanted babies




Hatches meant to prevent infanticide, abortion, and abandonment


JewishWorldReview.com |

mRAGUE — (TCSM) In numerous European countries, baby hatches or "boxes" allow mothers to safely and anonymously abandon unwanted newborns. But now, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child is pushing to eliminate the boxes across the Continent, igniting a controversy over a measure many see as potentially saving babies' lives.

The UNCRC claims baby boxes violate children's right to identify their parents and maintain personal relations with them. The committee has been concerned by the spread of the practice since a recent study showed that nearly 200 hatches have been installed in the past decade in 11 out of 27 EU countries, and that more than 400 babies were abandoned.

Advocates say the boxes prevent infanticide, abortion, and abandonment. But the UNCRC — which lacks enforcement authority — argues differently. It would prefer countries to provide better resources to women before a pregnancy crisis occurs: family planning education, easily accessible contraception, and social assistance, all of which, it argues, should obviate the need for mothers to resort to such a drastic solution as abandonment.


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"Baby boxes do not operate in the best interest of the child or the mother," argues Maria Herczog, a sociologist and member of the UNCRC. "They encourage women to give birth in unsafe and life-threatening conditions." She says the boxes send the wrong message: "Just leave your baby, these boxes seem to say. I don't think any community could send this message to any vulnerable person."

It is also not realistic to assume that mothers who are mentally unstable will have the presence of mind to bring their baby to a baby box, she adds.

MEASURE OF LAST RESORT
Social workers often disagree. Edite Ka?epaja-Vanaga, co-manager of Latvia's baby box program, thinks that it is a "solution to a problem for which another alternative has not yet been found." It is an option of last resort, she says, when no information on where to find psychological and practical support can prevent parents from leaving their baby. "Even in front of the baby box door, parents are asked to think again — are you really ready to abandon your own baby?"

When Ms. Kanepaja-Vanaga started researching baby boxes in Latvia in 2006, nine abandoned babies were found dead that year. Since the country opened its first baby box in 2009, the number was reduced to four. Another 17 babies were saved from the boxes, out of which 12 have been officially adopted and the others are all in the process of finding a new home. Two mothers showed interest in having their babies returned, but they have not yet taken any action to move the process forward.

Cristina Tango, Children's Rights Assistant for the International Reference Center for the Rights of Children Deprived of their Family (IRC), agrees that baby boxes are a measure of last resort. "The issue is very delicate and controversial; different economic and social grounds may lead mothers to abandon their baby," she says. "These women are, in general, victims of a lack of adequate social networks and state public services. In the absence of such services, these boxes are a plausible solution to ensure the child's survival and guarantee women's rights."

The Czech Republic is a case in point. There are currently 50 baby boxes scattered across the country, with more to come, recovering 75 babies since 2005.

But the country came under fire in 2011 when the UNCRC issued a report highlighting the country's alleged violations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The report said UNCRC was "seriously concerned" about the baby boxes and called on authorities to end the program as soon as possible. Instead, it wanted them to focus on eliminating the causes that lead to child abandonment.

CONTROVERSY BRINGS SUPPORT
Ludek Hess, founder of the program, says that his only goal is "to save babies." The UN's view is not of great concern to him, he says, as it does not have the authority to force countries to drop their baby box programs, and can only issue recommendations.

"I'm not the Czech state, I'm more like a grandfather," Mr. Hess said. "It [the controversy] has been priceless media — I could never have afforded the advertising and have received a lot of support from people." As the program is not state-run, the government has refrained from much comment, but the program remains supported by the country's human rights commissioner.

Hess's gray hair and warm nature add to his grandfatherly charm. Happy endings continue to inspire his activism. When a 25-year-old mother managed to conceal her pregnancy from her family and gave birth at home alone in the bathtub, she left the baby in one of his baby boxes. After Hess wrote something about the incident, she got in touch with him. He convinced her to try to get her baby back, which she did.

"She takes good care of the baby and we keep in contact," Hess says. "It brings me great satisfaction."

In the Czech Republic, five babies have been reunited with their mothers after being left in baby boxes, saving nearly 7 percent of babies who otherwise might have died.

As Ms. Ka?epaja-Vanaga notes, "one can take back a baby from a baby box, but it could not be done if he or she would be left in the woods, or in a trash bin or stairwell."

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