Abandoned children in Jordan....
This is a disgrace...
A newborn boy was found abandoned in a rubbish bin in southern Jordan last month while a two-month-old girl was found on a pavement in Amman with a plastic bag containing a carton of milk beside her.
Both children are believed to be “illegitimate”, according to news reports, abandoned by mothers who had them out of wedlock.
The incidents have brought into focus a sensitive issue in Jordan, where unmarried women with illegitimate children feel inclined to abandon their offspring rather than face social stigma or even violence from family members looking to salvage the family’s “honour”.
Some analysts put the blame on the prevailing conservative culture that ostracises those who have broken with tradition, while others point to the decline of religious and family values that leads to promiscuity and more women having children out of wedlock. Still others say it is a combination of the two.
“The phenomenon is tied up to the culture of shame,” said Sari Nasir, a professor of sociology at the University of Jordan and the president of the Community Centre Association.
“When unmarried girls are unable to have an abortion and they give birth and do not know what to do with their babies, they wrap them up and get rid of them because they are afraid for their lives.”
Prof Nasir said young people are lacking direction as society undergoes changes that often undercut traditional values.
“The numbers [of illegitimate children] are likely to grow as our society is undergoing drastic changes and old traditions are dying. Sometimes we feel that we don’t really have a new value system,” she said
Adultery is punishable by law and carries a one to three-year prison sentence.
Abortions are illegal, and if conducted in secrecy may endanger the woman’s life. While some doctors illegally perform them in clinics, most cannot afford the cost.
With few options, many women who give birth to illegitimate children feel their only choice is to abandon them. Usually the babies are dumped on the doorsteps of mosques or in bins.