Fri, Sep 14, 2007 - Page 21 News List

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


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

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.





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.






down 情緒低落

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









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