Although I do not condone the act of the child being “dumped”, I do believe convicting the mother is merely addressing the symptom and not the cause.
Over the past several weeks, we in eThekwini have been exposed to more and more horrific stories of babies being dumped: found in drains, in refuse bags, in bins, the list goes on. As a mother, I have stopped to question and possibly try to understand the thought process of a mother who at full term (or just before) decides to “throw away” her child.
As a single mother who found herself in a very similar situation in 2005, thankfully a lot older with an incredibly supportive family, I know how being faced with a lifetime of uncertainty and extreme levels of anxiety can affect one’s better judgement.
In a country where it is estimated that more than 40% of South African women will be raped in their lifetime and that 41% of these reported rapes are against children (a human being below the age of 18 as per the UN) where drug and alcohol abuse is prevalent, where the unemployment rate is over 26% and culturally abortion is frowned upon, what more could we expect from these young ladies who are very often left without a choice?
Even though the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act was promulgated in 1997, 22 years later young women still face myriad challenges when it comes to making a decision - their decision! South Africa needs to become more accepting of a woman’s choice of what she decides to do with her body, in fact, not just her body, her future because very often the fathers of these same babies are nowhere to be seen and ultimately never bear the brunt of these unfortunate situations.