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Abortion and Maternal Filicide

The latest Texas mommy turned murderer, Dena Schlosser, has reignited interest in mothers who kill their children.

While the media like to explain away these women as mentally ill, a look at the larger statistical picture reveals something is very wrong, that cannot necessarily be explained away by mental illness.

As the article notes:

Researchers, building on the work of Phillip Resnick, have shown that women tend to kill their own offspring for one of several reasons: because the child is unwanted; out of mercy; as a result of some mental illness in the mother; in retaliation against a spouse; as a result of abuse. Frequent themes are that they themselves deserved to be punished, that killing the children would be an altruistic or loving act, or that children need to be "erased" in order to save or preserve a relationship. Contrast this with the reasons men kill their children: Most frequently—like Garcia or Soltys—they kill because they feel they have lost control over their finances, or their families, or the relationship, or out of revenge for a perceived slight or infidelity. The consistent idea is that women usually kill their children either because they are angry at themselves or because they want to destroy that which they created, whereas more often than not, men kill their children to get back at a woman—to take away what she most cherishes.

In her testimony, post-abortion speaker Leslie Graves discusses how one day out of the blue, she felt like taking a knife to her body. It wasn't until years later she realized the source of these disturbing impulses was an abortion she had had in her early college years. I wish I could find the text online of Graves' testimony, as it provides great insight into the psychological world of post-abortive women. They know something is wrong, but they have no idea what.

I can't help but wonder what percentage of these maternal filicide cases involve women who have had abortions in the past, and feel unworthy of raising the children then have finally chosen to have, or feel a need to punish themselves.

This is armchair philosophy I'll admit, but the conclusion is definitely plausable. Anyone out there interested in doing the research?


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 23, 2004 8:07 PM.

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