New bill may make life easier for unwanted children

14-05-2004

Should Czech women be allowed to give birth in anonymity? A question that has evoked a great deal of controversy in the past few years - since one of the fundamental rights of a child is to know who its parents are. However potent that argument may sound, there are statistics which are far more persuasive:

Over the past 10 years 42 newborns were killed at birth by mothers seeking to hide their very existence

In the past three years 54 newborns were abandoned in public places - for the same reason

In 2001 only 545 children found adoptive parents although there were 2,100 applicants waiting in line

Weighing the issue once again on Thursday, deputies of the Lower House finally came to a decision. They approved a bill which would not only enable women to give birth in anonymity but also speed up the procedure of placing children in adoptive families. If the bill is passed by the Senate and signed by the president, the medical records of women requesting anonymity, will only be available under a court order. Their name will not appear on the child's birth certificate and it will be up to them whether they want to choose their child's first name. As one of the bill's advocates pointed out a blank birth certificate is not the ideal start to life but it might well save that child's life - which must be a primary consideration. In a follow up measure, the bill envisages an easier adoption procedure which would enable the child to quickly pass into the hands of couples who are eager for a child, rather than spending the first years of its life in an orphanage. The Fund for Children at Risk - a non governmental organization -which has long fought for this legislation says that if approved by the Senate, the bill will make their work far easier - but first at foremost it will give unwanted children a bigger chance to lead normal, happy lives.

14-05-2004

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