Feliz ano nuevo! Pregnant women in Spain may be holding vigil today, praying that they give birth before midnight, when their opportunity to claim a cheque bebé will end. This motherhood incentivization began in July 2007 in an attempt to bolster Spain’s birth rate. For each successful birth or adoption, families have received a check for 2,500, approximately $3,344 USD. Due to 2011 spending cuts, the program will be history as of tomorrow.
The Guardian reports tales of women who are due in early January running to the hospital this week and telling staff that they’re spotting or that their water has broken in an effort to deliver before time – and money – runs out. “They don’t dare say so openly but we know they want to bring the due date forward,” a midwife in Seville said. “We examine them and send them home.”
When it comes to scheduled C-sections and early inductions, though, hospitals seems eager to oblige. In Madrid, David Marchante, the medical director of the Belén clinic, told reporters, “There have been a lot of remarks in our consultations, with women saying, ‘Gosh, I do hope I give birth …’ but they don’t dare say any more.” According to Marchante, a few women have scheduled c-sections before the cut-off date. He says, “If there’s no medical reason not to, we can do that.” Big surprise. Similarly, Quirón hospital in Madrid has agreed to induce women early as long as they’ve reached 38 weeks.