Document Detail

Ambivalence toward mothers who kill: an examination of 45 U.S. cases of maternal neonaticide.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21110394     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Process    
Public opinion about neonaticide (the killing of a newborn within the first 24 hours of life) has varied across time and cultures. Some nations have passed legislation on behalf of maternal offenders with the assumption that childbirth, a time of unique biological change, may lead to mental disturbance. The United States, however, makes no such distinction; offenders are prosecuted under general homicide laws. Nevertheless, U.S. courts often consider a mother's emotional and physical condition prior to and during delivery. This study includes 44 female offenders and 45 infant deaths and highlights society's ambivalence toward neonaticide offenders. The authors suggest that this ambivalence may be attributed to: (1) the perception that an offender's emotional and physical turmoil during the birth and homicide reduces her culpability; (2) the sentiment that neonaticide offenders are more "redeemable" than other offenders; and (3) the uncertainty about the personhood of a fetus or newborn.
Joy Lynn E Shelton; Yvonne Muirhead; Kathleen E Canning
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2010-05-11
Journal Detail:
Title:  Behavioral sciences & the law     Volume:  28     ISSN:  1099-0798     ISO Abbreviation:  Behav Sci Law     Publication Date:    2010 Nov-Dec
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-11-26     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8404861     Medline TA:  Behav Sci Law     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  812-31     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Center for Analysis of Violent Crime, Behavioral Analysis Unit-3/Crimes Against Children, FBI Academy, Quantico, VA 22135, U.S.A.
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