Last updated at 12:43 BST, Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Malaysian babies thrown away

Summary

25 September 2012

There are calls for better sex education in Malaysia after an unwanted baby was thrown out of a window last week. Since then there have been two more cases of discarded babies. It is believed that the babies are being left by unmarried Muslim mothers.

Reporter:

Jennifer Pak

a baby

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Single mothers are resorting to more desperate ways to hide their pregnancies. Last week, a newborn was dropped from the third floor of an apartment complex in the Malaysian capital and died. Two days later, a foetus was left under a stairwell at the Kuala Lumpur airport. Then, further east in the conservative state of Terengganu, a baby girl was found in front of a mosque with her umbilical cord still attached, suggesting that she was abandoned shortly after birth.

Hundreds of Muslim babies have been left this way in recent years. Social workers believe it is driven by the shame of having a child out of wedlock and abortion is limited to women facing health risks.

To help these women, OrphanCare opened the country's first baby hatch two years ago, which allows mothers to drop off their child anonymously. But some say the only way to stop unwanted pregnancies is to teach prevention, rather than just abstinence in schools. It's unlikely to change anytime soon. Sex is still considered a taboo topic in this Muslim-majority country, leaving young girls who find themselves pregnant feeling they have no choice but to leave their child any way they can.

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Vocabulary

foetus

an unborn baby

umbilical cord

tube that connects an unborn baby to its mother

abandoned

left alone

shame

embarrassment, disgrace

wedlock

marriage

abortion

the procedure to end a pregnancy

anonymously

secretly

prevention

stopping something happening

abstinence

avoidance of sexual relations

taboo

forbidden

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