Devaluing Children Contributes Dramatically to Family Breakdown

A 25 year old mother in Canada convicted of killing her newborn son at his birth was given a three-year suspended sentence Friday by an Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench judge. "Katrina Effert was 19 on April 13, 2005, when she secretly gave birth in her parents' home, strangled the baby boy with her underwear and threw the body over a fence into a neighbor's yard.  She silently wept as Justice Joanne Veit outlined the reasons for the suspended sentence. Effert will have to abide by conditions for the next three years but she won't spend time behind bars for strangling her newborn son."  Read the entire story here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/story/2011/09/09/edmonton-effert-infanticide-suspended-sentence.html

Many are outraged at this legal result. "Mark Steyn hit the nail on the head when he accused a Canadian appeals court of allowing for a 'fourth-trimester abortion' — that's right, the killing of a baby that is already born."  Read more of that opinion here: http://www.albertmohler.com/2011/09/16/thrown-over-the-fence-infanticide-canadian-style/.  Others further suggest that abortion legal theory offers a foundation to such rulings.  "Justice Veit did not invent a right to kill infants – she merely acted upon established academic reasoning."  See that opinion here: http://cmc.rodparsley.com/News.aspx?nid=4196.
How we value or devalue our children, in their lives and in their deaths, reveals a great deal about the crumbling foundations of families.
We have discussed this previously in this Blog at http://www.regentfamilyrestoration.blogspot.com/search?q=casey+anthony. Professor Kohm and Regent Alumni Professor Scott Liverman wrote about this phenomena nearly a decade ago in an article published by the William and Mary Journal of Women and the Law.  [See Prom Mom Killers: Distorted Statistics, Blame Shift, and Their Impact on Punishment for Neonaticide, 9 Wm & Mary J. Women & L. 43 (Fall 2002), cited in Amy D. Wills,  Neonaticide: The Necessity of Syndrome Evidence When Safe Haven Legislation Falls Short,  77 Temp. L. Rev. 1001 (Winter 2004); Jennifer R. Racine, A Dangerous Place for Society and its Troubled Young Women, A Call for an End to Newborn Safe Haven Laws in Wisconsin and Beyond, 20 Wis. Women's L.J. 243 (2005); Susan Ayres, Who is to Shame? Narratives of Neonaticide, 14 Wm. & Mary J. Women & L. 55 (2007).

Family restoration means nothing if we devalue the crime of a parent killing his or her child to a suspended sentence.  The person a child most relies on ought to be the same person to be the most protective of that child.

[Thanks to Shawn Clauther for the research contributing to this post.]    

1 comment:

  1. This story totally horrified me. The crime for heartless mother who strangled her newborn son and tossed him over the fence into her neighbor's yard was not for murdering but for littering? and she may only spend 16 days in jail for what she had done? The evidence showed that she had tried to miscarry the child during pregnancy by smoking and drinking. She lied during initial police questioning, claiming she was a virgin. What was Justice Joanne Veit thinking? Even if this horrible girl's behavior was as a result of her disturbed mind, it must be, with no doubt, tried for killing, not for littering. "God help us. We are truly living on our heads." (borrowing a line from The Center for Moral Clarity)