Public Baby Cradles

Faced with the growing number of abandoned babies leading to unprecedented numbers of infant fatalities world-wide, what had started in Rome known as a “Foundling Wheel,” has gained much larger appeal as more and more countries are encouraging these public cradles where parents can relinquish their children into the care of the state.

“Foundling wheels were institutionalized by a papal bull issued in the 12th?century by Pope Innocent III, who was shocked by the number of dead babies?found in the Tiber.”

Without “remaking the wheel,” various countries have similarly adopted this system across Europe including countries such as Germany, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland.

This evaluation of social service care in European countries has been paired with increasing public policies to curb the number of abortions in favor of Foundling care. As India has increasingly vied for foundling care over abortion, Japan has more recently joined the ranks creating what have been called “Baby Boxes,” in hospitals in Kumamoto.

“Following?India, which last week launched a “cradles scheme” against abortions ?and?foeticide of girls, the Japanese Health Minister approved a decision?taken by a hospital in Kumamoto to have a “baby box” for the public.??Hospital officials said the box was intended to ensure absolute ?privacy?for those parents who wanted to abandon their newly born babies. The?”box” is an incubator which is always working and monitored by a nurse?of the hospital. Babies can be put there through an opening in the?hospital wall.”

While these public cradle systems across the world are springing up as viable options for parents who are unable to care for the newborn children, the cost will inevitably take its toll on a number of politicians world-wide who believe these systems are the answer. But as these systems become more widely accepted, it becomes more clear that at the root of this increasing need for care for abandoned babies is a lack of state intervention and financial subsistence for the world’s low-income poverty-stricken families, and unwed mothers. At stake are a number of international issues including international adoption which has become increasingly popular with affluent western countries on the receiving end of this nascent world-wide business.

At the top of this international market are Russia and Guatemala followed by various other Asian countries all vying for a spot as suppliers of babies to families from Europe to the U.S. While these baby boxes and foundling wheels are fueling the growing international market for adoption, these public cradles mask the much more serious lack of social services for families and unwed mothers. But as countries’ GDPs continue to rise in line with the massive exportation of children, there becomes less and less of a need for reformation within the social service structures, and more of a desire to increase profit margins under the guise of philanthropic and Christian ethics.


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