Birth by foreign parents skyrockets

Since January 2015 to September 2016, Saipan has been the birthplace of 715 babies born to foreign parents, according to the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.’s Health & Vital Statistics Office.

Hospital records show that over 95 percent of these babies are born to parents of Chinese descent.

Of the 715 babies born to foreign parents, 692 are by Chinese parents, 15 are by Korean parents, five are Filipino, two are Japanese, and one is Russian, all born with blue passports.

These numbers have skyrocketed since the lifting of visa waivers for Chinese and Russian tourists in 2009. In 2009, only eight babies were born to Chinese parents. That number jumped to a staggering 282 in a span of just three years (2012) and now to the seemingly problematic number of 692.

It is, however, indistinguishable which of the parents have long been residing in the CNMI and which children are brought out of the CNMI by their parents.

Most airlines have a policy against allowing heavily pregnant women to travel. Most airlines allow women up to 32 weeks pregnant to board freely and only require a medical certificate at about 35 weeks into the pregnancy.

Sen. Teresita Santos (R-Rota), who chairs the Health and Welfare Committee, reserved comments on the matter as of this writing due to insufficient information.

“I would reserve comments at this time until I get further information and clarification with CHCC where they have all these…statistics. Only after obtaining all those relevant information will I provide my statement.”

CHCC CEO Esther Muña said the Commonwealth Health Center only follows what the law mandates.

She said that CHC obeys the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, a federal law that requires anyone coming to an emergency department to be stabilized and treated, regardless of status or ability to pay.

“CHCC policies have not changed over the years. CHCC has and will continue to follow federal mandates that grant patient rights and even rights to women in active labor,” said Muña.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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