Fri, Sep 14, 2007 - Page 21 News List

Baby hatch highlights women's worries 「棄嬰艙」突顯女性憂慮

AFP

A nurse demonstrates Japan's first "baby hatch," where parents can drop off unwanted infants anonymously, at the Jikei Hospital in Kumamoto, Japan, May 1, 2007.Photo: AFP
今年五月一日,一名護士在日本熊本市慈惠醫院,展示國內第一座父母可以匿名棄置寶寶的「棄嬰艙」。照片:法新社

Hundreds of people have called an advice hotline since a Japanese hospital opened a controversial "baby hatch," where seven children have been left anonymously, officials and reports said earlier this month.

The Roman Catholic hospital set up the hatch in May in a bid to prevent abortions and unwanted children. It looks like a mailbox with pictures of storks and is modelled on a similar idea in Germany.

Outgoing conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed outrage at the baby drop-off, saying it encourages irresponsibility, but he could find no legal grounds to stop it from being installed.

The hospital has declined to say how many children it has received, but reports said seven have been deposited.

The latest was a week-old boy dropped off last month, Jiji Press and the Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

The southern city of Kumamoto, where the hatch is located, said a help hotline it set up on May 7 amid the controversy had received 357 consultations, with 64 people coming in person.

Most callers talked about unexpected pregnancies or difficulties raising children and many of the people seeking advice were from out of town, said municipal official Shinichiro Yamada.

"It seems that there are women all over the country who are troubled with pregnancy. I hope similar hotlines will be set up in other cities very soon," Yamada said.

Abortion is widely accepted in Japan, where adoption outside the extended family is rare. The country is struggling to reverse a decline in population as more young people decide to delay starting families.

(AFP)

本月初有官員及報導指出,自從日本一間醫院設置了極具爭議的「棄嬰艙」,並收容了七名被匿名遺棄的嬰兒後,已有數百位民眾致電諮詢專線。

今年五月,這間羅馬天主教醫院基於預防墮胎及保護棄嬰的理由,設立了這個「棄嬰艙」。這個棄嬰收容箱上繪有送子鳥圖案,外型像個信箱,構想是效法德國一個類似的裝置。

OUT LOUD 對話練習

Courtney: Amy, are you okay? You seem a little down.

Amy: I'm okay. Actually it's my brother that I'm worried about. I think he might have a gambling problem.

Courtney: Oh, wow. That's not good. What makes you think so?

Amy: I just sense something's wrong. I wish I knew the signs to look out for, and what I should do.

Courtney: Why don't you call a gambling hotline? Maybe they can help you.

庫特妮:艾美,妳還好嗎?妳看起來有點沮喪。

艾美:我還好。事實上,我是在擔心我的哥哥。我想他可能染上賭博。

庫特妮:喔,聽起來不太妙,妳為什麼會這樣認為呢?

艾美:我就是感覺有什麼不對勁。我希望我能知道該留意什麼樣徵兆,或是我該怎麼做。

庫特妮:妳為何不試試看賭博熱線呢?也許他們可以提供妳一些協助。

down 情緒低落

If you say someone seems down, it means that he or she seems to be sad or depressed.

如果你說某人看起來「down」,表示他或她可能感到難過或沮喪。


日本即將卸任的保守派首相安倍晉三曾對遺棄嬰孩行為表達譴責,認為棄嬰收容箱會鼓勵不負責任的父母,但目前沒有任何法律依據可以禁止設置棄嬰艙。

這所醫院拒絕透露目前已收養了多少幼童,但據報導指出,已有七名寶寶被託付。

最近一位是上個月被遺棄、出生僅一週的男嬰,《日本時事通信社》及《讀賣新聞》報導指出。

這個棄嬰艙設置於日本南方的熊本市,當地政府表示,一支諮詢熱線於五月七日設立就飽受爭議,已處理了三百五十七通諮詢服務,其中有六十四人親自到場諮詢。

多數民眾來電述說她們意外懷孕或養育小孩的困難處境,許多尋求幫忙的民眾來自外縣市,熊本市官員山田真一郎表示。

「全國各地都有因為懷孕而不安的女性,我希望其他縣市也能盡快設立類似的熱線,」山田說。

墮胎在日本十分普遍,相對來說,領養來自其他家庭的小孩則相當罕見。隨著年輕人越來越晚婚,日本政府正極力扭轉日漸降低的生育率。(法新社/翻譯:袁星塵)

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