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Madison hospitals kill birth announcements, cite fear of baby abductions

The first of many Weird Wisconsin posts for 2014 comes courtesy of the Wisconsin State Journal, which announced yesterday the death of a traditional keepsake for parents.

Two hospitals in Madison told the paper that they would no longer provide birth announcements, citing a growing concern over infant abductions. (There's also a little something called lawsuits.)

SEE ALSO: Two more incidents in Minneapolis add to recent child abduction scares

The decision to withhold birth information from the public -- despite the wishes of parents -- has the backing of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. It reports that least 290 babies have been abducted in the U.S. since 1983, four of which have been linked by law enforcement to birth announcements.

"We certainly support the limiting of personal information being released," spokeswoman Christine Barndt told us in an email. "As to how much and what manner, that's a decision for the individual hospital."

Rightly so, Wisconsin State Journal editor Phil Brinkman says he couldn't continue printing announcements without the confirmation of medical staff:

Like obituaries, the potential for mischief is too great when it comes to taking this information directly from individuals over the phone or by email, which is why we rely on hospitals to provide it on the parents' behalf.

The Minnesota Hospital Association does not track abduction cases, according to Wendy Burt, a spokeswoman. She said she was unaware of any push within our own state to withhold birth information.

Messages left with a couple hospitals in the Twin Cities area were not immediately returned.

-- Follow Jesse Marx on Twitter @marxjesse or send tips to jmarx@citypages.com


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