Saturday, January 13, 2007

NYT ignores the obvious reason for infanticide

There is a law on the books in NY and many other states that allow a mother to abandon a baby at a safe location and then call someone to let them know that the baby is there and they won't be charged with abandonment. But there are still women who kill their babies after they are born. The NY Times is puzzled by this:

Their lives ended almost as soon as they began. And every time their tiny bodies were found, in Dumpsters, garbage cans or, in the case of a newborn girl in Queens last fall, on the conveyor belt of a recycling plant, dismay and bewilderment followed.

Six dead newborns were found abandoned in the New York City area in 2006, twice as many as in the preceding year, according to Timothy Jaccard, president of the A.M.T. Children of Hope Foundation on Long Island, which offers outreach to expectant mothers and buries discarded babies.

The figure does not include the baby born to Lucila Rojas, 25, last month. The police said that Ms. Rojas, who lives in the Bronx, confessed to smothering the 2-week-old boy on Dec. 31. According to the Queens district attorney’s office, she told the authorities that the infant was the result of a rape in her native Mexico, and that she threw his body into a garbage can. His body has not been found.

The killing and abandonment of newborns by their mothers seems incomprehensible to most people. New York is one of 47 states that allow parents to anonymously leave unwanted infants at sites like hospitals or firehouses without fear of prosecution under so-called safe-haven laws. Mr. Jaccard attributes the rise in abandonments to a lack of publicity about the law, which he helped draft in New York and promoted in other states.

According to the report, the problem may be lack of education about the law, confusion and terror over an unwanted birth and not identifying the girls who are at risk:
Panicked, alone and often in great pain, few mothers have the wherewithal in the crucial moments after birth to consider safely abandoning their babies, according to Michelle Oberman, a professor at Santa Clara University’s School of Law.

“Girls committing neonaticide are generally petrified about the idea of anybody finding out they were pregnant,” Professor Oberman said. “They’re pretty bad at planning. “Even if you’re a great planner, if you’ve just delivered a baby by yourself in the bathroom, with pain, blood loss and lots of terror, you’re not in the best shape to hop on a bus to drop the baby off.”


“I think it does work when people know about it,” Ms. Geras said. She said 889 babies had been safely relinquished nationwide, according to her records, since the first safe-haven law was enacted in Texas in 1999.

Supporters and disparagers of the laws agree that the best way to reduce neonaticides and baby abandonments is by tackling the problem long before vulnerable women give birth, or even become pregnant.

But what is ignored completely in this report is the mindset that is prevalent in our society today that the birth of a baby is left up to the mother and if it's inconvenient for her to give birth, then she can terminate the pregnancy up to delivery with no consequences. It's her choice. So why should we be surprised that teenagers will take this thinking to its logical conclusion and kill the baby after its born. What's the difference? It's only a birth canal. They are the ones who make the decision of life or death when the baby is in the womb, why shouldn't they have that power once the baby is born?

Trackposted to Outside the Beltway, Rightwing Guy, basil's blog, and Pursuing Holiness, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.