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'No need to kill or abandon babies after birth'

By unknown | Sep 05, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

At least one newborn baby is dumped in KwaZulu-Natal every month and women's rights bodies and the police are worried about the problem growing.

In the latest incident a newborn baby was dumped in a pit latrine at Copesville, near Pietermaritzburg, on Monday afternoon.

Paramedics were shocked at the discovery of the infant's body abandoned barely minutes after being born.

Police spokesman Joey Jeevan, said a docket of concealment of birth had been opened.

"The body was found in a public toilet. And the baby was already dead.

"We appeal to the public to come forward with information that will help us solve this case," she said.

Jeevan said such cases were worrying and it was up to the community to do something about it.

Women's rights activist, Cookie Edwards, from the Network Against Abuse of Women and Children said the increase in the number of cases where women conceal birth was "shocking".

"It is all wrong.

"There are organisations in our communities which can help women who experience difficulty or who wish to give up their babies for adoption," Edwards said.

"These organisations are there to hold the hands of women in desperate situations.

"As mothers we need to stand up and take action against such cases.

"Rather than killing a child, a woman should take it to a hospital or contact organisations in the communities that will help."

She said some of the reasons women dump their newborn babies included teenagers wanting to hide the birth from family and elders, or women wanting to hide the birth from boyfriends or husbands.

Unemployment was also a factor. Rape victims also felt the need to get rid of their babies, Edwards said.

"In all of these cases the children can be saved.

"It is essential that government-based institutions educate pregnant women about their rights and choices.

"Through such education programmes we can try to ensure we do not end up with tragic situations where babies are born and then killed or abandoned.

"The responsibility is for women to ensure that they educate themselves and take precautions not to fall pregnant," Edwards said.

No arrests have been made in the latest incident.


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