PACE urges member states to do more to prevent the abandonment of children at birth

The Assembly today invited member states to frame a proactive policy to prevent the abandonment of newborn babies, and recommends in particular ante-natal and post-natal medical and social support and appropriate financial assistance for pregnant women and for fathers, and accessible reception facilities. 

In an adopted resolution, PACE considers that respect for the rights of children to live with their families and find out about their origins is an inviolable principle that must be included in all family policies, and that member states should therefore urge mothers to give their identity, even if it is appropriate to introduce protected forms of childbirth offering some confidentiality for the mother. In order to combat trafficking in newborn infants, the Assembly also recommended compulsory registration, free of charge, of all children at birth and transparent procedures for the giving up of babies for adoption purposes.

Michael Hancock (United Kingdom, ALDE), author of the report debated in the Assembly, states that the abandonment of newborn babies persists in certain states of central and eastern Europe, where policies which "institutionalised" this practice by encouraging parents to hand their babies over to the state have left traces in people's mentalities. He notes that children are beginning to be abandoned again in western Europe because of financial difficulties, poverty and HIV/AIDS.