During one of the recent long runs on a Sunday with Dr Peter, we talked at length about unwanted teen pregnancies and incidents of baby-dumping. He opined that sex education can't really help to reduce these problems, because he said in the western countries, teenagers are generally well informed about sex, yet there are still many cases of teen pregnancies. I think I agree with Dr Peter.
However, I don't know if the same can be said about baby dumping. What does it take for a woman, or even a young teenaged girl, to go against the motherly instinct of protecting her own flesh and blood, to dump her baby and leave it to die? That is something even fierce animals like tigers would not do.
Morality and the sense of responsibilities have somehow been left out of the upbringing. Instead, it's selfishness that prevails. Although the element of fear is one of the many factors which can lead to baby dumping, I think the stronger factor is that of shame. In spite of all the so-called religious upbringing, when the teenaged girl accidentally becomes pregnant, she is unwilling to accept the responsibility for her mistake. First, there is the fear of the responsibility of parenthood. Then there is that shame of the act itself.
The tigress is free from fear and shame—its act is only controlled by its motherly instinct. But for a young woman (especially unmarried woman), the fear and shame overwhelm the motherly instinct. So strong is the fear, and so strong is the shame, coupled with selfishness, she is willing to dump/abandon her baby and leave it to die.
The problem is becoming quite rampant in Malaysia to the extent that the Government is making baby dumping (which can lead to the baby's death) a capital crime. [The Star] It means that the guilty person may be charged with the death penalty.
Unfortunately, I think no amount of threat of punishment—even the death penalty—can be stronger than the elements of fear and shame. Some people would rather take their chances trying to escape the law rather than face shame. In fact, they would rather die than facing the shame! [The Star]
I can't imagine what it is like to be a newly-born baby left to die a slow death because of exposure to the harsh environment or of starvation. And I can't imagine what goes on in the mind of the mother who did that to her own child. But I believe even if she is able to escape the long arms of the law, sooner or later justice shall overtake her somehow.