Newspaper To Stop Printing Birth Announcements Because Hospitals Fear Abductions

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200374290-001The Wisconsin State Journal of Madison, Wisconsin will no longer print birth announcements because two of the area’s prominent hospitals have started refusing birth information.

It was a practice that the information would only be released to the newspapers with parental consent. Now, the hospitals are refusing to release the information all together. From The Wisconsin State Journal:

Birth listings “set people up as targets for somebody who might want to steal a baby,” said Kathy Kostrivas, Meriter Hospital’s assistant vice president for women’s health services.

“It’s an effort to improve safety and security for families,” said Kim Sveum, spokeswoman for St. Mary’s Hospital.

While I am all for infant safety, I think this concern is a little misdirected. Everyone knows there are babies on birthing wings in hospitals, right? It seems more logical to focus on locking birthing floors and establishing security protocols, than to worry about birth announcements.

At least 290 babies have been abducted in the U.S. since 1983, including 132 at health care facilities, according to the center. Four cases, from 1989 to 1993, were linked by law enforcement to birth announcements, the center says.

“Our world is so different now than it was 25 to 30 years ago,” said Cathy Nahirny, the center’s senior analyst for infant abduction cases. Abductors “are using every means available to them to select a possible victim infant,” she said.

If professionals think this is a necessary step for infant safety, I’m not undercutting the seriousness of it. But I am always a little uncomfortable with the argument that our world is more dangerous now than it was 25 to 30 years ago. Is it? Or are we just more paranoid?

The information included in the State Journal’s free birth announcements was the date, hospital name, parents’ full names and sex of the baby. The announcements did not list the parents’ hometown.

(photo: Getty Images)