Germany isn’t alone in their use of baby hatches. Japan has been using them since 2007, and they also operate in the Czech Republic, Italy, Malaysia, Russia, Poland and Hungary. In the USA ‘Safe Haven’ laws mean a mother can leave her child, if it is younger than 72 hours, at a safe haven, such as a fire or police station or a hospital. Supporters of the baby hatches say they remove the need for mothers to take extreme, fatal measures to dispose of their babies and they save lives. And that saving the life of the child is more important than knowing who its parents are. Critics’ arguments range from the child not being able to find its parents later in life, to the hatches being an easy way out, something that will encourage irresponsible attitudes to pregnancy. There’s also the problem that total anonymity doesn’t allow for the details of the full story, details which could be ethically compromising.
In Australia, talk of baby hatches has occasionally arisen in the past, usually in the wake of a mother abandoning a child, but that talk has ultimately petered out for issues pertaining, presumably, to the inherent and aforementioned problems the countries with baby hatches routinely find themselves facing.
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