No rea­son to dump an un­wanted baby as state pro­vides

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - KHANYISILE NG­COBO AND THABANG RAMMUTLA

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

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