Child abandonment

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This girl from Bhutan has a severe mental retardation and is physically disabled. With a high probability, the girl never walked upright, and never learned how to speak. She was one of a quarter of the world’s children at risk of iodine deficiency. Iodine deficiency is the world’s leading cause of preventable mental retardation.

Child abandonment is when a parent leaves their child. The causes of child abandonment can be poverty or mental illness. The child becomes an orphan and lives in an orphanage. They are raised there until they reach 18. This practice is allowed under the safe haven laws in the United States.

History[change | change source]

Abandonment (or exposure) was a widely used method of getting rid of babies that parents did not want. Babies would be left outside, often in a pot or a vase, to die.[1] It was practiced in ancient times, especially in Athens. The babies at the most risk were: girls, deformed or ugly babies, children born to poor families, babies who looked unwell. Women had no say in whether their babies were exposed. The fathers were the only ones who had a say.

References[change | change source]

  1. La Rue van Hook (1920), "The Exposure of Infants at Athens", Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association (The Johns Hopkins University Press) 51: 134-145, http://www.jstor.org/stable/282876