SEOUL, Jan. 28 (Korea Bizwire) – A newborn baby was found buried in a rubbish heap on January 25 in Jeju City, Jeju Island. The baby was not alive when a resident discovered the body, whose umbilical cord had been cut in a careless manner, raising the possibility that an unmarried mother had delivered the baby and tried to cut the cord in a hurry. According to the local police, the baby had been buried in the refuse pile for three to seven days.
Cases of abandoned newborn babies – most of which are found dead – are unfortunately not rare occurrences in South Korea. On January 1, a young woman in her 20s delivered a baby boy in a bathroom next to a gas station in Yangsan, South Gyeongsang province. The baby was later found in a plastic bag full of trash.
Baby abandonment cases are on the rise, and in 2013, there were a total of 225 cases reported. According to the latest data from the National Police Agency, the group most likely to abandon their baby turned out to be young women in their early 20s, (aged 21 to 25) who accounted for 21.9 percent out of the total. Teens were also responsible for the horrific acts, as teenagers over 14 accounted for 13.7 percent of the cases.
Considering the number of abandoned baby cases was “only” 52 in 2009, the incidence of abandonment cases has increased more than fourfold in the past five years. Ironically enough, the very measure established to reduce baby abandonment cases – a “baby box” run by a church in Seoul since 2009 for humanitarian purposes – is actually making matters worse.
According to the Seoul Metropolitan Government, 220 babies out of 225 abandoned in 2013 were left in the box last year, compared to only four in 2010. This is because a revised act that made registering births compulsory has dissuaded young mothers from choosing adoption or other options.
Complicated procedures that are related to complying with the new regulations have raised anxiety that identities might be revealed during the registration process.
However, the tragedy of baby abandonment knows no borders. A 24-year-old metro Detroit woman has been arrested in connection with the death and abandonment of a baby boy found Jan. 14 at a Roseville recycling center, according to Roseville Police Station. The newborn boy’s body was found dumped among waste brought to ReCommunity Recycling, reported the Livingstone Daily, the local-based news media.
From Russia came a moving story about an abandoned baby, and fortunately this one had a happy ending. Masha, a communal cat, found a newborn baby – about 2 and half months old – who had been left with a pacifier, bottle and diaper, according to the National Right to Life report on January 19. But for the stray cat, chances are the infant would have died in the freezing weather in the Kaluga region of Russia.
By Jerry M. Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org)