I have been following, at least a little, the story of the Alberta woman who killed her newborn son, throwing his body over a fence into a neighbour’s yard.
The woman, Katrina Effert, received no jail time, merely a suspended sentence. The judge had this to say:
Judge Veit ruled, according to multiple media reports, that because Canada allows abortions it reflects how “while many Canadians undoubtedly view abortion as a less than ideal solution to unprotected sex and unwanted pregnancy, they generally understand, accept and sympathize with the onerous demands pregnancy and childbirth exact from mothers, especially mothers without support.”
Naturally, this is all very disturbing stuff. But the light sentence, although explained today in light of our abortion-friendly culture, would have likely been given prior to abortion being available on demand, precisely because a mother murdering her baby was viewed as so contrary to a woman’s nature. Lower sentences associated with infanticide, in short, recognize that a woman bonds with her baby over nine months gestation, and that subsequently killing that baby represents a break with normal maternal instinct.
It is in the same way that having an abortion breaks with normal maternal instinct–the desire to protect your baby.
In today’s day and age, we undoubtedly have to get rid of the lower sentences for infanticide, precisely because women have grown more and more distant from their own bodies, how they work, and what pregnancy is and what abortion does.
But if we lived in an abortion-free culture, I’d be in favour of lower sentences for women who kill their newborn infants. Some may well do so in cold-blood. I feel, however, that killing your own baby is such a strange thing that mental disorder may, in fact, be to blame.
I’m still thinking this one through. I thought to myself, hey, I should discuss this with someone. But then I realized I have a blog for such questions as this.