The Saturday May 1 edition of the Toronto Star included a very interesting article by Petti Fong called “A refuge for unwanted infants”. The article reports that a Vancouver hospital is taking after a centuries-old tradition of churches having a “foundling wheel” where mothers could leave their unwanted babies, then ring a bell notifying someone that the baby was there before running away.
In Canada, it is illegal to “abandon a child in circumstances where the baby’s life is likely to be in danger”, but the problem of mothers abandoning their children continues to be a problem. Some (many?) women are either unable to or neglect to use contraception and/or do not resort to abortion, and thus find themselves with an unwanted pregnancy. What, then, do they do?
While adoption is an option, it is a complicated one that some women don’t feel able to pursue. It seems to me that leaving a child at a hospital is a great last resort! The mother is given 30 seconds to place the child in the hatch and get away before an alarm alerts staff of the situation. Brilliant! If a baby is at a hospital, its life isn’t in danger, thus its mother hasn’t committed an illegal act. The mother has freed herself from a burden she feels she cannot handle, yet the baby does not physically suffer.
I agree with the Vancouver police that “anything that helps to save a child’s life is a good thing”!