YORK, U.K. — Now, it appears, people have the right not to be cooed over when they’re tiny babies.
What? Yes, I know that even the American Civil Liberties Union hasn’t thought of that one–yet, but here in Britain, where they’re apparently more progressive than we are, a hospital right here where I am in Yorkshire has ruled that touching, clucking over, or even talking about the newborn infants in its maternity ward with staff or parents violates the babies’ confidentiality rights as patients.
As the U.K. Telegraph reports today, the Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax, West Yorkshire, now issues cards to visitors of new mums and their offspring titled “Respect My Baby.” The cards bear a message purported to be written by the newborn himself or herself. It reads: “I am small and precious so treat me with privacy and respect. My parents ask you to treat my personal space with consideration. I deserve to be left undisturbed and protected against unwanted public view. My parents ask you to treat my personal space with consideration.”
Now I myself have never been a mum, sad to say, but I don’t think too many day-old infants are all that focused on their “personal space.” But the card goes on to say: “I deserve to be left undisturbed and protected against unwanted public view.”
Furthermore, some of the parents with babies at Calderale don’t seem riled up about violating their newborns’ privacy, either. Lynsey Pearson, 26, who gave birth to a baby girl, Hannah, at Calderdale four weeks ago, told the Telegraph she thought the new policy was “ridiculous.” Said Pearson: “If people did not ask me about my baby, I would be offended.”
But neonatal care manager Debbie Lawson assured the Telegraph that the hospital takes the idea of newborns’ rights seriously:
“Cooing should be a thing of the past because these are little people with the same rights as you or me.”
So stop making eye contact with those babies — at least while you’re here in the U.K.