WARSAW, Poland (CNS) — On a damp street in Warsaw, not far from St. Florian’s Cathedral, a tiny mattress lies on display behind a safety-glass window, installed at waist height on a dull gray wall.
To the left, a door sign reads “Sisters of Our Lady of Loretto.” Across the teeming thoroughfare a multistory hospital gazes down over rutted sidewalks.
When the Polish capital’s first “life window” was dedicated in 2006, it was one of dozens newly installed around Europe, as a safe place for unwilling mothers to leave their babies.
Today, controversy is growing, as an influential U.N. committee charges that the windows violate children’s rights.
“We’re not encouraging mothers to get rid of their children,” Agnieszka Homan, spokeswoman for the Polish church’s Caritas charity, told Catholic News Service. “Although newborns can be left legally in state hospitals, some are still being dumped outside in the cold. These life windows offer a facility where women who don’t want to give birth in (a) hospital can leave them anonymously, without endangering their lives.”