Public abandonment of newborns: Policies and practices in the United States and around the world




Cesario, Sandra K.
Kolbye, Sharon
Furgeson, Evie Michelle

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The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children


Statistics suggest that the incidence of newborn abandonment is increasing. Is this the case, or has the increase in the amount of media coverage of such events given this perception? In actuality, the practice of abandoning newborns shortly after birth has always existed. Occurring in primitive and contemporary societies, this practice has varied motivations that are dependent upon the social norms of a specific geographic region at a given point in time (Rascovsky & Rogers, 1995). Although it is known that such practices exist, no official statistics have been maintained anywhere on the abandonment or murder of infants at or near the time of birth. In addition, no one has any idea of how many babies have faced this demise by being discarded and never found. The purpose of this article is to explore the historical and current practices of newborn abandonment throughout the world. Also, the formation of health policy, social programs, and the legislative process addressing this issue will be discussed.


Article originally published by APSAC Advisor, 14 (1), 24-27. English. Published 2002.
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Population control, Political climate, Psychological disorders


This is the publisher’s version of an article that is available at Recommended citation: Cesario, S., Kolbye, S., & Furgeson, E. (2002). Public abandonment of newborns: Policies and practices in the United States and around the world. APSAC Advisor, 14 (1), 24-27. This item has been deposited in accordance with publisher copyright and licensing terms and with the author’s permission.