No reason to dump an unwanted baby as state provides
THERE is “no justification whatsoever” for abandoning a baby, the Gauteng Department of Social Development says.
This came after two babies were found dumped in rubbish bins on Monday morning in Fourways and Roodepoort.
In the first incident, paramedics found a newborn baby boy in a bin outside a complex in Douglasdale, Fourways. The baby was allegedly found by a man who was rummaging through the bins. He alerted security guards and paramedics were called.
ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring said paramedics found the baby wrapped in a cloth and plastic bag.
“It was evident that the baby had been dead for some time,” Meiring said.
In the second incident, a foetus was found in a rubbish bin outside a residence in Weltevreden Park. Meiring said paramedics had been alerted by security personnel, but found no sign of life when they got there.
He said investigations into both cases were under way.
Mbanjwa Xaba, spokesperson for the Gauteng Department of Social Development, said there was never a valid reason to abandon a baby.
“There can never be justification for dumping aan infant because the government provides sufficient education and contraceptives, including free condoms,” he said.
“Even after the baby is born, the state will also provide care; you can still bring the baby to us if you feel you cannot provide for the child,” he added.
Xaba said it was mostly found that teenage mothers were the ones abandoning their babies.
This was due to their inability to communicate and inform their families after they fell pregnant or have sufficient discussions on the issue, he said.
Xaba said the problem was often linked to older men, most of them married, who got involved with younger girls and then turned their backs on them when they fell pregnant.
“This would lead to teenage mothers feeling the pressure of raising the child as a single mother and, in their desperation, end up abandoning the child in the dustbins,” he said.
Young mothers need not feel they have no way out, as there were numerous options available to them, Xaba said.
Some of these included handing over newborn babies to government facilities, such as the Child and Youth Care Centre that look after neglected children.
The most important thing Xaba highlighted was that girl children should not be condemned, especially by parents, if they fell pregnant.
“We believe that once children experience the difficulty of being pregnant, they are then demonised at home and have no way of knowing how to deal with the matter; this should not be the case,” he said.
Andrea Thompson, advocacy and engagement manager at the Marie Stopes Clinic, said it was saddening to read of such reports, adding that they indicated the real desperation of the women involved.
Thompson added that the incidents showed the need for wider access to all forms of reproductive healthcare, including contraception, abortion and prenatal care.
“These services are available to all women who need them, without judgment,” she said.
Two months ago, two abandoned baby girls were found dead in Sandton – one found stuffed into a bread packet. Both infants were found in refuse bins.
Bodies of four infants found in bins in Joburg