Madison paper to stop printing birth announcements

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Associated Press | January 2, 2014

MADISON — The Wisconsin State Journal will no longer publish birth announcements because Madison's two birthing hospitals will stop providing the information due to privacy and safety concerns.

Parents traditionally have saved birth announcements as keepsakes. But after Wednesday, neither Meriter Hospital nor St. Mary's Hospital will provide any details about new births, the newspaper reported.

Birth listings "set people up as targets for somebody who might want to steal a baby," said Kathy Kostrivas, a Meriter executive.

"It's an effort to improve safety and security for families," agreed Kim Sveum, a St. Mary's spokeswoman.

Kostrivas and Sveum say they're following the advice of groups such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which cautions new parents about using birth announcements.

At least 290 babies have been abducted in the U.S. since 1983, including 132 from hospitals, according to the center. Four cases between 1989 and 1993 were linked to birth announcements, the center says.

"Our world is so different now than it was 25 to 30 years ago," said Cathy Nahirny, the center's senior analyst for infant abduction cases. Abductors "are using every means available to them to select a possible victim infant."

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