Newborn forms spark controversy

Newborn forms spark controversy

Newborn forms spark controversy

Parents of babies are required to answer controversial questions.

Turkey’s Health Ministry’s forms for newborn babies sparked a debate recently for containing questions on the religion of the baby and asking whether the parents were married. 

Republican People’s Party deputy Aytuğ Atıcı brought the subject to public attention, describing the forms as “forms of shame.” 

“Is this not a fascist understanding?” Atıcı asked. “I do not accept such a view. The Health Ministry should recall these forms.” 

The religion section, he added, had only enough space for five letters, in accordance with the word Islam. 

Health Ministry press officials told the Hürriyet Daily News that the forms were rewritten in accordance with several new categories, like heel blood tests, and to work well with other government offices. The marital status question was a direct result of such information gathering, and the religion question was in accordance with the Population Services requirements, the ministry said. 

None of the categories was required to be filled in, the ministry statement further said, and are used to prepare the ID cards of newborns and send them directly to the parents if they wish to receive them automatically. 

The new practice will also permit the gathering of statistics for many official data surveys, the ministry added.