ROME, Feb. 27 — In the Middle Ages, new mothers in Rome could abandon their unwanted babies in a “foundling wheel” — a revolving wooden barrel lodged in a wall, often in a convent, that allowed women to deposit their offspring without being seen. Now a Rome hospital, the Casilino Polyclinic, has introduced a technologically advanced version of the foundling wheel — not at all a wheel but very much like an A.T.M. booth. For the first time a new mother left her baby there on Saturday night, and on Monday the child, a boy about 3 months old, was doing well, said Dr. Piermichele Paolillo, who directs the neonatal unit at the hospital.This is only a very small part of the article and I recommend all to read the whole thing. This set me thinking. We have very strong plans in India to encourage adoption of female children to combat female foeticide. This would also enable parents who later had a change of heart to reclaim their daughters. A truly inspiring initiative. The government plans to adopt these girls in order to give them a life. I remember thinking when this was announced about who would openly give up their girl children to orphanages. Surely, this itself would mean a social stigma, and the foeticide would only marginally be affected. Could this system from ancient Rome be put to good use in this programme in India? It would have several benifits. The anonimity would encourage people to use the facility without fearing social criticism, saving the lives of many unborn girls. The government would probably find larger support of its adoption scheme from rural organizations and people. The girls would get a life, rather than an abortion for fear of being saddled with a female child. It would become far more easy to crack down on providers of illegal abortions, and providers who may be doing so under local pressure/demand would be able to advise their clients of this more acceptable alternative. Based on records of dates of the child being left and DNA tests, parents who change their mind and want to claim their daughters would still be able to identify them. I suspect, though I may be wrong, that the refusal of sex determination tests, with this option as the plan of action would allow the family to form an emotional bond with the unborn child rather than thinking of it as genetic currency, and perhaps, just perhaps, they would love her even after she was born, and would not want her to grow up an orphan.