Neonaticides Following "Secret" Pregnancies: Seven Case Reports
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Neonaticides Following "Secret" Pregnancies: Seven Case Reports

  • 07/01/1989

  • Source: Public Health Rep. 104(4):368-372
Filetype[PDF-1.08 MB]

  • English

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      Public Health Rep
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      Seven neonaticides were reported during a 14-month period in the State of Iowa. This is an alarming number considering that only one such case was reported in the previous year. The majority of cases involved the birth of a live infant to an adolescent who had reportedly kept her pregnancy secret from family and friends. The death of the infants resulted from exposure or drowning. Efforts were made by the mother to hide or dispose of her infant's body. Basic information about each of the reported cases is presented, as well as the sentences given the adult mothers charged with the crime of child endangerment. The dynamics of these cases are reviewed in the context of earlier studies dealing with the phenomenon of neonaticide. Infanticide has deep roots in several cultures. It was practiced in some primitive societies and was decreed a capital offense as early as 1643. Its occurrence recently prompts suggestions for activities by professionals to prevent these tragedies. More research and further attention to this problem is warranted.
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