“Let all the babies be born. Then let us drown those we do not like,” said G.K. Chesterton. The philosopher was making a pro-life point, but, increasingly, we’re seeing mothers who actually are performing their own post-partum “abortions.” One case involves a 34-year-old Maryland woman who did, in fact, deliver a baby on two different occasions — and then decide to drown the child right after birth. Writes Lifesite News’ Ben Johnson, “Melissa Schrae Bowen of Prince Frederick said she killed her babies because she had three children already and could not afford an abortion. She saw her acts of infanticide as a parallel to legalized abortion.”
The grisly story came to light on March 8, 2012 when the defendant’s mother found the body of a baby boy, born sometime in 2007, in a garbage bag in Bowen’s car trunk and contacted the police. Months later on November 16, authorities would discover another dead baby boy in a suitcase in a home in La Plata, Maryland; that child was birthed late in 2011 or early in 2012. Bowen said that in both cases she successfully hid her pregnancies, gave birth on a toilet, and then left the children to die. The first child lingered on struggling for life, however; Bowen then drowned him in a bathtub.
On August 8 of this year Bowen entered an Alford Plea — a type of guilty plea in which the defendant maintains his innocence but acknowledges that the state can prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt — and will serve two concurrent 10-year sentences for one count of second degree murder and two counts of manslaughter.
Yet Bowen’s case is hardly unique. In fact, last year Lifesite’s John Jalsevac cited 17 examples of infanticide, all but one of which occurred during just a six-month period. Here’s a sampling of those 2013 cases:
• August 28 - A woman gives birth in a bar bathroom in Pennsylvania, stuffs the baby in the water tank of a toilet, and then returns to the bar to watch a fight on TV.
• August 7 - The body of a baby is discovered at hospital rest room in Texas.
• July 9 - Police discover the body of a baby abandoned in a diaper box in the bushes at a public park in Roseville, California.
• June 21 - The body of a small baby is found in a solid waste tank in a waste disposal plant just north of Montreal. Police say the baby was likely flushed down the toilet.
• June 21 - The body of a newborn baby is discovered in a trash can in Oildale, California....
• June 12 - Brittany Cole is arrested in Altheimer, Arkansas, after dumping her infant son in the trash can....
• June 5 - Twenty-seven-year-old Virginia resident Shavaughn Robinson is charged after allegedly giving birth in a toilet ... and tossing it [the baby] in a dumpster....
• May 2 - Cherlie Lafleur, 19, is arrested in Pennsylvania after allegedly attempting to flush her newborn baby down the toilet at her school. When that didn’t work, she reportedly deposited the body in the trash can.
• Dec. 10, 2012 - The body of a newborn baby is discovered on the conveyor belt of a garbage sorting facility in La Puente, California.
Note that not only is the above merely a partial list, but it omits all the recorded incidents prior to and since Jalsevac’s chosen time period (not to mention the cases we never hear about). In light of this, Jalsevac asks, “So why are so many of these gruesome incidents cropping up?”
Many pro-lifers have an answer: There’s a simple reason people such as Bowen see “acts of infanticide as a parallel to legalized abortion.”
Because they are.
Jalsevac makes the case, citing the disturbing story of Pennsylvania late-term Pennsylvania abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who was found guilty last year of murdering three babies after birth. The writer points out that if Gosnell had murdered the babies a few minutes before birth as opposed to a few minutes afterwards, he might not have found himself on the wrong side of the law. But is it not the same side of moral law?
Other contradictions are inherent in our law. While the killer of a pregnant woman is invariably charged with double murder, if that woman had not been victimized, on the same day she could have aborted the child and the act would have been considered “family planning.” It’s situation supposedly changing status: Under the criminal’s knife the child is a baby, while under the abortionist’s scalpel he’s an “unviable tissue mass.”
Further intensifying this culture-of-death mentality, points out Jalsevac, is that babies are continually discarded in abortion mills. And the attitudes of abortionists are generally more cavalier and ghoulish than those of any woman convicted of infanticide. Nebraska late-term abortionist LeRoy Carhart told a mother that the baby in her womb would soften up like “meat in a Crock-Pot” and joked in a video about dismembering the unborn with “a pickaxe, a drill bit.” And a counselor at Dr. Emily’s Women’s Health Center in the Bronx was caught on video telling a mother that if the baby “comes out” while at home, she should just “flush it.”
And, increasingly, law in the West is starting to recognize the moral equivalence of pre and post-partum infanticide — but not in the way pro-lifers would like. For example, a judge in Alberta, Canada, justified giving a woman who strangled her newborn no jail time, with the reasoning that Canadians’ refusal to criminalize abortion indicates that they “sympathize” with the mother. “Naturally, Canadians are grieved by an infant’s death...,” said Justice Joanne Veit, “but Canadians also grieve for the mother.”
But some may wonder how much grieving there actually is, with many people acknowledging unborn babies’ humanity — but nonetheless treating abortion as sacrosanct. For instance, after former actress and abortion counselor Emily Letts got pregnant earlier this year she said, “I feel in awe of the fact that I can make a baby.... I can make a life.” Despite this, she decided to end that life and then filmed her abortion for all to see, stating that she was “breathing and humming through it” and that to her the pre-partum infanticide was “as birth-like as it could be.” She’s nostalgic, too, saying “Every time I watch the video, I love it” and that if her apartment caught fire, her sonogram “would be the first thing I'd grab.” This is not just a woman who tolerated her abortion — she romanticizes it.
This is why Jalsevac says that pro-lifers are mistaken: They believe the battle is won if they can just convince the other side that the unborn baby is human. But many people know that well. They just don’t care.
So why are incidents of infanticide cropping up? Maybe because they’re not — they cropped up long ago. More and more women are just cutting out the middleman and monetary expense and are choosing to make their infanticide a post-partum experience.