Baby hatches – beneficial or harmful?

A baby hatch is a location where parents can abandon an unwanted newborn baby (sometimes anonymously), and such hatches exist in 20 countries, often outside hospitals. They are intended to save the lives of fetuses and newborns. An article from Japan discusses whether such hatches are beneficial or harmful. Such hatches prevent a newborn from knowing its biological parents, may encourage abandonment, may enable parents to abrogate their responsibility, and may not necessarily decrease the rate of death. However they are also likely to have numerous benefits. They are likely to prevent abandonment in dangerous locations that might cause the baby to die, provide a safe haven, act as a source of support for the parents, and serve as locations for ‘socially essential emergency refuge’. Ultimately they are an expression of society’s commitment to protection of vulnerable newborns.

Should we maintain baby hatches in our society? Asai and Ishimoto, 2013.