02/11/06 — No excuses: Unwanted babies deserve a second chance at life

View Archive

No excuses: Unwanted babies deserve a second chance at life

Friday’s news about the baby found at the sewer plant is not the first time in the last few days there has been a sobering news item about a lost child. This one was just so tragic because it happened here at home.

We don’t know the details yet, but it is tough to read the story without a tear coming to your eye.

It seems that almost every day there is a report somewhere of an abandoned baby or a child who is mistreated or neglected by parents who would rather not take care of their responsibility to the little boy or girl they brought into the world.

The tragic thing about each of these stories is that there are literally thousands of people each year who would give anything to be a parent to a child, but who do not have the chance to do so. They would gladly take over for any one of these people who have decided that raising a child is not for them.

Unfortunately, they do not often get the chance.

Abandoned baby stories usually do not end happily. Every once in a while, though, a smiling, chubby little newborn gets a second chance after being left behind by the people who are supposed to love and care for him or her.

And that is what makes stories about abandoned infants so sad — and so pointless.

There is a law in North Carolina that allows a child to be surrendered to personnel at a place like a hospital emergency room or a police station with no charges or any other sort of repercussion for the mother.

The idea is to give mothers who do not want to keep their babies a safe option for giving them a chance at a new life.

So, there is really no excuse for abandoning a baby anywhere. If you cannot care for your child, these people are ready, willing and able to make sure the little boy or girl finds safe haven until he or she can be placed in a loving home.

And then there is the issue of reducing the number of people — most of them way too young to be thinking of having a baby anyway — from having unwanted pregnancies in the first place. But that is for another day.

A child is a gift — and one that should be treasured.

Making sure people know about the surrender option — and punishing severely those who choose to ignore it — is a critical step in making sure stories of abandoned infants become a once-in-a-while news item rather than a once-a-week tragedy.

Published in Editorials on February 11, 2006 11:15 PM