Baby flaps remain a legal gray area

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Baby flaps remain a legal gray area

The baby flaps are sometimes the last resort for mothers if they feel overwhelmed with their newborn child or if the pregnancy was not planned. For the newborns, this possibility of giving up children means safe care and an opportunity to live. The aid concept offers the opportunity to hand over a child so as not to endanger their health and to ensure the anonymity of the mother. An alarm informs the clinic or a midwife that a baby is in the hatch. After eight weeks, the children are usually referred to an adoptive family.

Baby flaps have existed since the 12th century In the 12th century there was already a kind of facility for mothers, which has been operated in Germany as a "modern baby flap" since 2000. From a legal point of view, however, baby flaps are in a gray area, because these facilities are not really legal. In principle, however, there is no obligation to report for hospitals or other private operators. "What we offer is not really legal," says Sister Birgitta from the St. Marien Children's Hospital in Landshut. If children are placed in the baby hatch, impunity must be requested from the public prosecutor's office each time. Because according to § 16 of the (PStG) the birth of a child must be reported to the registry office within one week, whereby the name of the mother must always be given. The violation of the duty to advertise is basically only an administrative offense.

New law is aimed at advice centers. This could change on May 1, 2014. Then the new law on expanding assistance for pregnant women and regulating confidential birth comes into force. The Federal Government would like to protect women who suppress or hide their pregnancies and are therefore not reached by the existing aid system. For newborns, this could mean survival, because this will avoid exposure, the government hopes. As the "dpa" reports to relevant newspapers, the new law is strongly geared towards advice centers.

The Confidential Birth The expectant mothers can contact the counseling center for the "Confidential Birth", which then uses a pseudonym chosen by the mother to inform the Youth Welfare Office about the upcoming birth. The advice center takes care of the mother even after the child has been given. In rare cases, the baby is withdrawn. When the child is 16 years old, the child has the right to view the data.

The anonymous birth In the case of anonymous birth, the pregnant woman can give birth in a clinic without having given her personal details after having been given sufficient advice. Only then is the child handed over to the authorities. In Germany, about 139 clinics offer the option of "anonymous birth". (fr)

Image: Alexandra H. /

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