Secret birth of baby Jesus? The laws allow it, but Marie would have to fulfill the conditions
Little did Mary and Joseph know that King Herod was seeking the life of their newborn son Jesus to get rid of the one who allegedly threatened his rule. But as it is written in the Bible in the Gospel of Matthew, an angel appeared to Joseph and warned him to take Jesus and his mother to Egypt (Mt 2:13-15). Today, such a long flight would not be necessary. Our laws would allow Maria to give birth in secret. But only under certain conditions.
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Leaving the baby in the baby box after birth is less safe for him than if the mother used a secret birth, experts think
| Photo: Shutterstock
The conditions of the secret birth are such that Marie’s loving mother would probably not accept them, and she would disappear from the rapist’s sight as quickly as possible with the baby. But there are exceptional cases of women who might be interested in a secret birth. The language of the law should say that they might want to “give birth to a child with the mother’s identifying information concealed.”
Viktorie Plívová, spokeswoman for the General Health Insurance Company, explains which mothers can use secret childbirth: “Not every woman has the right to conceal her identity in connection with childbirth. Only a woman who has permanent residence in the territory of the Czech Republic can give birth secretly in a medical facility. Also, a married woman and a woman who has been divorced for less than 300 days cannot use secret birth.
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According to the Civil Code, if a child is born between the marriage and the three hundredth day after the divorce, the father is considered to be the mother’s husband.
Maternity hospitals are ready for this
A woman has the right to request a secret birth in any maternity hospital. They must submit a written request to conceal their identity during childbirth. And they have to confirm something else that Mary from the biblical story would not want to do: Part of the request is the woman’s statement that she does not intend to care for the child. Other mothers who find themselves in a difficult situation, but usually do not want a child. “Health care related to the pregnancy and birth of a child whose mother requested a secret birth is one of the health services covered by public health insurance,” Viktorie Plívová adds, adding that the obstetrician will be fully reimbursed for providing such a birth.
All health care associated with a secret birth will be reimbursed by the maternity hospital from the health insurance companySource: Shutterstock
In the case of a clandestine birth, information about the child’s parents is not entered in the register. The report on the birth of a child contains the information that it is a case of a clandestine birth, and the matrix is given by the obstetrician. After the hospitalization of a woman who gave birth secretly, the health service provider puts her medical documentation about the services provided in connection with the secret birth into a suitable package. Medical documentation maintained in electronic form is also converted into written form and removed from the maternity hospital’s information system.
The healthcare facility seals the envelope and marks it with a security code, which it also gives to the patient.
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Medical records sealed in this way can only be opened on the basis of a court decision or at the request of a woman who has given birth secretly. “After a clandestine birth, the child is treated in a similar way as when a woman gives up the child without secrecy, i.e. all steps are aimed at placing the child in substitute family care,” explains Viktorie Plívová.
Putting a child in a box is easier
Why don’t we see this story full of secrets, for example, in detective films? Because the institute of clandestine childbirth is basically no longer used by women today and has disappeared from real life. The emergence of otherwise very useful baby boxes also contributed to this. Mothers simply put their unwanted offspring here without filling out any applications. Jaroslav Feyereisl, director of the Institute for Mother and Child Care in Prague’s Podolí, told Radiožurnál some time ago that he considers secret births to be a safer option than when the mother puts the baby in a baby box.
Concealed birth is safer “During being placed in the box, the baby may have some complication, and all of this eventually carries the risk of late diagnosis, late provision of care, so there are also some risks for the baby in the baby box. Whereas in the case of a clandestine birth, the child is provided with professional care during the birth, after the birth, provision of all the necessary examinations and vaccinations that the newborn needs,” said the doctor on Radiožurnál.
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According to the website of the Chance for Children organization, Czech women do not often seek out the possibility of a secret birth. The exceptions are mostly those who get pregnant unintentionally and miss an abortion. Otherwise, an artificial abortion is easier for them than to hide for months and be without income. Many women do not even know about the possibility of a secret birth. And what about the number of clandestine births in our country? Official statistics are not kept, because all personal data about possible secret mothers are secret and are not recorded in any way.