MADISON (WKOW)-- St. Mary's Hospital and Meriter each welcomed their first New Year's babies just after 1:00 a.m. Wednesday morning. Due to a recent policy change by both hospitals those two newborns will be some of the last to be featured in the birth announcements in local newspapers.
At Meriter Hospital, the first baby of the new year was Monica Mary Moreland who was born nine pounds 21 inches. She's the youngest of six children. Their parents say they have always tried to send newspaper clippings of their birth announcements to friends and family.
"There has always been a friend who has sent a couple of clippings so that we could send them to grandmas and grandpas out of state," mother Bonnie Kalla-Moreland says.
Starting January 2nd, the Wisconsin State Journal and other newspapers will no longer be able to print birth announcements. The two main birth centers in the area, St. Mary's Hospital and Meriter have both decided to stop releasing birth information due to the concern of child abduction.
"This doesn't happen very often, but you only need one baby taken away. That's devastating and that's enough to make us want to change our policy," Meriter Public Relations Director Mike Flaherty says.
Hospital officials say the decision to stop releasing birth information to the public did not come lightly. They reached their decision after receiving numerous recommendations from experts and national organizations.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says 288 children have been abducted since 1983 and 132 of them happened at a hospital. That's why numerous hospitals across the country are also restricting birth information.
For mother Bonnie Kalla-Moreland, it's sad to see her daughter Monica being among the last newborns to be announced in local newspapers.
"That's really too bad that some bad apples are spoiling it for the whole bunch."
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