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Newspaper birth announcements may be a thing of the past because of child-safety concerns

MADISON, Wis (WSAU-Wheeler News)  The daily newspaper in Madison has stopped publishing birth announcements, after two hospitals in the city stopped providing the information for safety reasons. Meriter and Saint Mary's hospitals said it would no longer release birth information. The Wisconsin State Journal had already been careful about how its confirms its information for birth announcements. The paper printed listings only from parents who consented to share their news -- and the information had to come from the hospitals.

City editor Phil Brinkman said the potential for mischief was too great to take birth information directly from parents over the phone or e-mail.

Kathy Kostrivas of Meriter Hospital said birth announcements make parents become targets for those who might want to steal babies. Kim Sveum of Saint Mary's calls it an effort to improve security for families. Both said they acted on advice from the National Center for Missing-and-Exploited Children.

The center's Cathy Nahirny said the world is so different now than it was a quarter-century ago -- and abductors are using every possible means to select infants as their victims. Almost 300 babies have been abducted in the U-S over the last 31 years -- including 132 from hospitals.