In suggesting measures to control baby dumping, we are only dealing with the outcomes of certain prohibited acts, not the very wrong acts themselves.
THE recent surge of baby dumping cases is obviously a grave reflection of an acute social crisis besetting our community. Statistics on the reported cases are terrifying.
How about cases that go unreported?
I would say that what we are facing now is just the tip of the iceberg. The actual number of cases is far greater.
The following is one indication of the worrying situation.
A few months ago, my colleague received a call from a nurse of a private clinic in the Klang Valley.
She related that throughout her 17 years of service, she had been dealing with five to six abortion cases daily.
Some teenage girls came in their school uniform.
Some others were even accompanied by their parent(s). And the nurse told us of a girl who came in for her fourth abortion.
Based on the above, let’s do some simple calculation: 17 years x 365 days x five cases (daily average) is a staggering 31,025 cases.
Imagine if 5% of the girls proceed with their pregnancies and later on give birth but decide to abandon their babies – dead or alive – we will have an average of 91 abandonment cases a year in just one corner of the nation.
Many factors have been associated with this dreadful phenomenon: broken family life, broken promises, fear of illegitimacy and its consequences of shattered integrity or dignity (shame, embarrassment, isolation, rejection), childhood disability, gender preference and poverty.
I would say that the increasing cases of baby dumping is a sign of a flourishing hedonistic culture, the diminishing role of religion and the decreasing influence of a positive value system.
The young generation is becoming more and more secular.
The root cause, I believe, is ignorance due to lack of education, formal or informal, religious or otherwise.
We may blame those unwed couples who indulge in sex as a means to be rid of their problems or out of curiosity.
We may perhaps excuse genuine rape victims.
However, if these victims somehow also abandon their babies, then their acts are initially equally blameworthy, with certain reservations depending on certain circumstances.
A number of suggestions have been put forward by many quarters to curb the problem: criminalise abandonment, charge the parent(s) with murder, provide baby hatches, set up special schools or shelters for pregnant teenagers.
Society is divided on these suggestions.
Some agree and some do not.
Many raise the issue of practicality or propriety.
Some purportedly question, for example, the appropriateness of certain proposals, such as providing baby hatches or shelter for unwed young mothers.
Of course the authorities, or any given community concerned about their future, must not let the situation deteriorate any further.
The former, for instance, may apply the Islamic concept of siyasah syar’iyyah (syariah-oriented policy) and/or maslahah (public interest) to protect the greater interest of their subjects.
I am basically in favour of setting up baby hatches or shelters for unwed couples.
These measures are by no means to be construed as tolerating or condoning offences proscribed by religion, let alone encouraging or giving more space for others to commit similar sinful or heinous acts.
They are to be considered as means to properly educate both the “unwanted” babies (as they grow up) and their parent(s) by inculcating and instilling religious teachings or ethical principles to guide their daily life.
Offering support and protection in this manner will tremendously help the individuals to learn from their mistakes, to repent, and to be spiritually, psychologically and emotionally stable, and regain their strength in facing the future, especially for those who have been rejected by their parents, family members and society.
To me, such measures are perhaps analogous to the action introduced by the second caliph of Islam, Umar al-Khattab, in establishing prisons to detain criminals.
It is definitely weird for anyone to say that he was trying to encourage other people to break laws, especially the divine ones.
We seem not to realise that in suggesting measures to control baby dumping, we are actually dealing only with the outcomes of certain prohibited acts, not the very wrong acts themselves.
by Wan Azhar Wan Ahmad.
Read more @ http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/9/21/focus/7068951&sec=focus