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Abandoned baby sparks debate on safe havens

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Abandoned baby sparks debate on safe havens
A newborn was found abandoned between two containers on Saturday. Photo: Mathias Øgendal/Scanpix
10:13 CEST+02:00
After a newborn baby was found in a plastic sack between two rubbish containers in a Copenhagen suburb on Saturday, the National Council for Children is urging the implementation of safe haven laws.
A newborn baby girl who was discarded in a plastic sack is expected to survive after being discovered by a passerby on Saturday afternoon. 
 
The baby was found between two containers in the Copenhagen suburb of Ballerup but police have not been able to locate the child's mother despite pleas that she identify herself. 
 
“Our presumption is that when one leaves their baby in such away there must be something terribly wrong. So we would really like to help her,” Copenhagen Vestegn Police spokesman Jens Møller told Berlingske.
 
“It isn't our top priority to punish anyone right now. We would rather find the mother and help her because she must feel terrible,” he added. 
 
The National Council for Children (Børnerådet) said the incident highlights the need to have a national debate on infant safe havens, also known as baby hatches. Many countries have legislation that allow people – in most cases mothers – to leave babies that they either don't want or can't care for in designated places without fear of legal punishment. 
 
“We would like to see research on the experiences in those countries that have used baby hatches so that we can evaluate whether they would be good supplements to the options we already have,” National Council spokeswoman Lisbeth Wilms told Berlingske. 
 
“These kinds of cases are incredibly sad but they unfortunately happen every year or two. We need to investigate all options,” she added. 
 
Police said that the baby found on Saturday was likely born outside of a hospital. 
 
“We have spoken with the nearby hospitals and there is nothing to indicate that it was born [in one of them],” Møller said. 
 
Copenhagen Vestegn Police are pleading with the mother or anyone with any information on her possible identity to step forward. 
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