Children abandoned at waste dumps and in fields. Baby Box at MCI not yet used

The newborns abandoned in unsafe places is a reality that didn’t bypass us in 2020 either. Some of these could be saved, while the assistance for others came too late. The first case was reported in January, when a boy aged one month was found abandoned in a baby carriage on the stairs of an apartment building. In another case, in July, a baby girl abandoned in the fields immediately after birth in Nisporeni district was saved. In other cases, babies were found dead – in a bag at a waste dump in Dubăsari district, at a waste sorting plant in Chisinau and on a hill on the outskirts of Șuri village of Drochia district. In 2013, the Mother and Child Institute (MCI) purchased a Baby Box to encourage the mothers who decide to abandon their children to leave them in a place where they can be saved, but this is not used.

The Institute’s spokesman Maxim Cazacu said the Baby Box bought in 2013 cannot be used as the necessary legislative framework is absent. “This will become functional when the service could be regulated legally,” he stated.

Contacted by IPN for a comment, the author of the initiative, the then director of the Mother and Child Institute Ștefan Gațcan, said that back in 2013 he explained that a special legal framework is not needed for the purpose. The current legislation does not ban the use of Baby Box. The procedure is the same as in the case of children abandoned elsewhere. The child is issued with a certificate, is cared for at the medical institution and is later taken to a placement center.

Ștefan Gațcan noted that if special legislation had been needed, as an MP he would have put forward a legislative proposal. It is rather a delay on the part of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Protection that neglected the perinatal problems the past few years. What are necessary are relevant regulations and these should be drafted by the Ministry.

According to the MP, the real number of killed or abandoned newborns is not known as not all of them are found and this is painful. If the Baby Box had been used, more lives could have been saved. There were cases when mothers abandoned their babies on the stairs of the maternity hospital, but came back after them in a while, changing their mind. It is not appropriate to investigate a mother who resorts to such a gesture after experiencing temporary psychosis. In most of the cases, discernment reappears shortly afterward and the woman realizes what she did.

Press officer of the General Police Inspectorate Diana Fetco has told IPN that four cases of infanticide were examined last year, under Article 17 of the Penal Code. The newborns were killed during delivery or immediately after being born by mothers who suffered temporarily from a mental disorder.  Infanticide carries a penalty of up to five years in jail.

There were also eight cases of leaving of children in danger and two of the children died. Under the Penal Code, the intentional leaving in danger of a person who cannot save oneself due to early age is punished with a fine of up to 27,500 lei, 180 to 240 hours of community service or up to two years in jail. The same deed that results in serious bodily injury or death of the victim because of imprudence is punished with up to four years in jail.

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