Feb 20, 2021
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“We went on the attack again – with old arguments”

While the main proponent of legalizing baby boxes in Russia, State Duma deputy Oksana Pushkina writes letters to Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, trying to enlist the support of the head of government in favor of the bill she created, Pushkina’s supporters of lower rank are casting votes in the regions.

They do it in their favorite manner – not really bothering to invent any evidence-based arguments, repeating the same “mantras” for almost ten years. So, on February 14, Stavropol deputy Nikolai Novopashin, a well-known advocate of the baby-box project, once again distinguished himself.

First of all, the deputy proposed to put “children’s boxes” in all cities of the region – they say, the experience is positive, in the region “several lives have been saved”. He stressed that he is ready to find sponsors. They say that one device costs about 300 thousand rubles – and provide baby boxes for maternity hospitals in Donskoy and Ipatovo.

Let’s start with the fact that Nikolai Novopashin is cautious for a reason, not naming the exact number of children thrown into the device. So, speaking in March 2016 at a meeting in the Federation Council, the deputy announced two thrown babies. Although not long before that, three children were reported in the Stavropol Territory.

In this confusion with the children of the parliamentarian, journalists immediately caught them, whom Novopashin, speaking in the Federation Council, annoyedly named as some “bloggers” interfering with doing a good deed. But there is nothing surprising in such confusion with numbers – after all, the most important factor that determines the essence of baby boxing is anonymity. It is impossible to establish who threw whom and who, whose child was and who later took him away.

Let us note to ourselves: the deputy, who is unable to name the exact number of children left earlier in the devices, advocates the installation of new ones.

An illustration of the potential criminality of baby boxes is available in the same Stavropol Territory. In 2015, a grandiose scandal erupted in the regional capital – her granddaughter secretly from her mother was taken to a baby box by her grandmother. The case, which has every chance of becoming a criminal, was hushed up. And the same deputy Novopashin on the local radio tried to denigrate the girl’s mother – they say, she herself is to blame for what happened.

Further more. In 2017, the prosecutor’s office of the Stavropol Territory ordered to close the baby box in Budennovsk due to the threat of a terrorist attack. Is it a joke – an unprotected, anonymous niche in the wall of the children’s hospital?

However, the authorities of Stavropol, along with the local children’s ombudsman Svetlana Adamenko, stood up to defend the device. No more, no less, ignoring the order of the regional prosecutor.

Finally, about the “marginal bullshit”. According to Nikolai Novopashin, opponents of baby boxes come up with completely ridiculous arguments.

“For example, a mother has postpartum stress, and she can abandon the child on emotions. They also say that children who have been given away are sold for organs. This is said by pseudo-religious organizations, which, along with this, oppose vaccination. This is all marginal nonsense, ”the deputy said.

Perhaps the parliamentarian is completely ignorant of the issue, but it is the cases of postpartum stress in mothers that doctors and psychologists rank among those states in which a woman can “break the woods”. For several years in a row, experts have been saying that a mother in postnatal stress needs the help of a psychologist, that is, in live human and professional participation aimed at keeping the child in the family. And not at all in a “carefully” slipped “box”.

However, officials are in no hurry to develop and implement such an “option” everywhere. Indeed, crisis centers and psychologists cost money, for such work with women it is necessary to cut off the budget. It is much easier and cheaper to replace expensive professional and human work with the temptation of an easy, “remote” abandonment of a child through a box.

In turn, the criminologists of the Ministry of Internal Affairs have repeatedly emphasized that a woman who decided to kill a child will not take care of him and look for a baby box.

This is also confirmed by statistics – it turned out that the presence or absence of baby boxes in Russian cities does not in any way affect the number of cases of infanticide. At the same time, according to the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, preventive work with mothers can really work wonders – for example, from 2010 to 2015, the number of children who are abandoned immediately after birth has decreased almost three times.

The first in the above-described “alignment” figured out in the Vladimir region – they refused baby boxes there in 2015. According to the regional children’s ombudsman Gennady Prokhorichev, it is impermissible to develop the topic of containers for newborns in the country, given that now there is an active promotion of family and family values.

Then, in July 2019, the baby box in Novorossiysk was closed – there was no one to repair the structure assembled abroad. In addition, all baby boxes operating in Russia are not standardized and certified, and therefore may pose a danger to children left there. This has been repeatedly pointed out by the Russian Ministry of Health.

But in Germany they went even further and conducted a whole study on the experience of using baby boxes. Thus, in 2009, the German Ministry for Family, Women and Youth Affairs commissioned a series of studies from the German Institute for Youth.

The conclusions for the proponents of baby boxes are disappointing: the declared goal of reducing infanticide is not being achieved; it is not the killer mothers who use the “baby boxes”, but women who have, among other things, education and prosperity. But the most terrible conclusion of the study was that about 20% of newborns disappeared in German baby boxes: the organizations responsible for the work of the structures could not provide information about the fate and location of these children.

Here is such a “marginal nonsense” from “pseudo-religious organizations” …

Olga Avetisyan

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