Madison hospitals kill birth announcements, cite fear of baby abductions

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Upsilon Andromedae
The first of many Weird Wisconsin posts for 2014 comes courtesy of the Wisconsin State Journal, which announced yesterday the death of a traditional keepsake for parents.

Two hospitals in Madison told the paper that they would no longer provide birth announcements, citing a growing concern over infant abductions. (There's also a little something called lawsuits.)

SEE ALSO: Two more incidents in Minneapolis add to recent child abduction scares

The decision to withhold birth information from the public -- despite the wishes of parents -- has the backing of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. It reports that least 290 babies have been abducted in the U.S. since 1983, four of which have been linked by law enforcement to birth announcements.

"We certainly support the limiting of personal information being released," spokeswoman Christine Barndt told us in an email. "As to how much and what manner, that's a decision for the individual hospital."

Rightly so, Wisconsin State Journal editor Phil Brinkman says he couldn't continue printing announcements without the confirmation of medical staff:
Like obituaries, the potential for mischief is too great when it comes to taking this information directly from individuals over the phone or by email, which is why we rely on hospitals to provide it on the parents' behalf.
The Minnesota Hospital Association does not track abduction cases, according to Wendy Burt, a spokeswoman. She said she was unaware of any push within our own state to withhold birth information.

Messages left with a couple hospitals in the Twin Cities area were not immediately returned.

-- Follow Jesse Marx on Twitter @marxjesse or send tips to jmarx@citypages.com

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8 comments
Stacy Schwartz
Stacy Schwartz

Aren't babies born every day? So.... yeah. Also, most hospitals allow you to opt in or out of being listed in the hospital directory, so even if people call to ask where you are they say you're not a patient. This seems odd to even really be news. ...and I'm due any day, but I have no concerns.

Al Fenzloff
Al Fenzloff

Privacy & protection for the defenseless ...

Brandon Sullivan
Brandon Sullivan

The announcement of a child's birth should be kept private by default. And it should be left ENTIRELY up to the parents if they want it to be public. I applaud this hospital for enacting this policy.

Amanda Moore
Amanda Moore

As a woman who is 41 weeks pregnant, I have to say I support this. I'm delivering at a hospital that is not strict with security and it's kind of scary to think about, especially because I have a certain family member who is dangerous and needs to be kept away. I do not want this person to be able to find photos of my child or any information about him. If a parent wants to share their child with the world, they should be able to make that decision

John Wolfsberger
John Wolfsberger

How silly. These wackos already know there are babies at hospitals. They don't wait for an announcement to come out.

barbertj23
barbertj23

One of the worst worded titles for an article I've ever seen.

how about:

"Madison Hospitals fear abductions and will no longer post birth announcements."

instead it reads like:
Hospital. kill. birth. Madison. announcements. Baby Abductions.

dave872
dave872

Agreed. Then it goes on to say "which announced yesterday the death of..." That's distracting but maybe a sick way to get clicks.

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