THERE is no doubt that a solution has to be found to the growing problem of baby dumping. Indeed we have to, even if it is just to avoid being called a nation of baby dumpers. Surely, we also do not want the developed nation status that we are going to achieve in 10 years to be besmirched by our tendency to drive young unwed mothers to dump their newborns. Therefore, we must establish ourselves as people who are loving and compassionate when it comes to handling the problems that young girls have to face when giving birth to children they conceived out of wedlock. We should realise by now that this problem is to be expected.
Young girls are leaving the shelter, protection and guidance of their parents in the rural areas in large numbers to study or to work and the companionship that some of them establish with their male colleagues may go beyond the bounds of what their parents would call proper. Unfortunately, when the inevitable happens, the fear of discovery and shame and not knowing what to do cause them to abandon or dump their babies. Faced with a hostile world they have no choice. It is our fault that we have created this hostile environment through our puritanical views on sex and sex education and an intolerant religious attitude that is unwilling to be sympathetic and accommodative.
The statistics are grim. Over the last five years 472 babies were reported to have been dumped and more than half of them were found dead. The number has been increasing by the year since 2005. There were 79 cases last year and 65 cases so far this year. And these are only the known cases. Some dead babies could have been buried in unmarked graves or ended up in landfills or rivers.
It could very well be that not all of those babies that were abandoned or dumped were unwanted but not knowing what to do or who to turn to for help caused the mothers to get rid of their “problems”. But they could have done it in a more dignified manner had they been aware of several organisations, shelters, and welfare centres that can help them. It thus would help if a little more publicity is given to them. The argument that this would encourage more young people to be irresponsible does not hold water anymore.
Some parents are understanding and sympathetic enough to help and this has helped to prevent the figures from becoming more grim than they already are. But more parents should be like them. But above all, the religious authorities should learn to be more sympathetic and less unrelenting in cases of girls giving birth out of wedlock so that they would not dump their babies. There is no point in being angry or outraged. As for the death sentence it is better to impose it on murderers, as it is now, and on those who steal public funds.