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Teen mom escapes charge of killing baby
( 2003-12-26 09:16) (eastday.com)

Public split on whether she deserves jail for the death of her newborn.

The teenage mother in Shanghai whose newborn baby died when she hung it outside her window in a plastic bag on last Sunday morning probably won't be charged with any crime.

"We are still discussing the case with prosecutors and the final charge hasn't been decided," said a local police source close to the case, who declined to be identified.

"However, because the girl is a minor, she will very probably be exempt from prosecution," the officer said. "We also hope other authorities, like the women's federation, will help take care of the teenager."

The 15-year-old gave birth to the baby boy late on Saturday night following a pregnancy she somehow managed to keep secret.

When the baby didn't make any noise after it was born, she was afraid he was dead so she put him in a plastic bag and hung it on steel security bars outside her window. But the bars broke and the baby fell on to a window ledge two stories below.

The mother, who can't be named as she is a minor, has been released from hospital - where she was taken on Sunday morning - and has returned to her family.

Police said they still didn't know who the father of the baby is.

Local reaction to the story is split, with a surprising number of people saying the young mother shouldn't face prosecution, while others would like to see her charged.

"The girl herself is also a victim. I can't imagine how much pressure she will face in the future," said Shen Gendi, director of the neighborhood community near the building where the baby died. "She hid the baby in a place she thought was safe because she was dreadfully afraid of being uncovered by her parents."

Even the doctors that treated her after the death said they feel sorry for the teenager.

"Even if she has made a big mistake, (the baby's death) is already enough punishment for her," said one doctor at Gongli Hospital.

Teachers at Guiyang School in Yangpu District, where the girl was a grade-nine student, said the media should stop reporting so many details of the story as it will make the teenager's life more difficult when she grows up.

Others, however, want justice.

"It's really too cruel to treat a newborn baby like this. She should have known the baby would get hurt if she put him out of the window on such a cold night," said a neighbor surnamed Shen.

"The parents should bear the major responsibility for their lack of concern and the girl should also pay for what she did," the neighbor said.

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