34 Am. Crim. L. Rev. 1 (1996-1997)
Mothers Who Kill: Coming to Terms with Modern American Infanticide

handle is hein.journals/amcrimlr34 and id is 13 raw text is: MOTHERS WHO KILL: COMING TO TERMS WITH MODERN
AMERICAN INFANTICIDE
Michelle Oberman*
I.  INTRODUCTION     .......................................                          2
II. AMBIVALENCE ABOUT INFANTICIDE ACROSS TIME AND PLACE....                            6
A. Infanticide and the Pattern of Lenience: A Study in British
Legal H  istory  .....................................                         7
1. The Jacobean Law of 1623: A Presumption of Guilt In
British Infanticide Cases ...........................                       9
2. Nineteenth Century British Infanticide Law Reform ........                 11
3. De Jure Lenience: Great Britain's Twentieth Century
Infanticide Statute ................................                       14
B. Contemporary Infanticide Statutes: A Cross-Cultural Pattern of
Lenience Toward Infanticide ...........................                        17
III. INFANTICIDE, AMERICAN STYLE: OUTRAGE AND AMBIVALENCE IN
CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN CASES .........................                             20
A. Latent Signs of a Modern Epidemic .....................                        20
B.  Neonaticide .......................................                           22
1. Neonaticide Described ............................                         23
2. Neonaticide in the Criminal Justice System ...............                 25
3. Ambivalence About Neonaticide: A Case Study ...........                    27
C.  Infanticide  ........................................                         30
1. Infanticide Described ..............................                       31
a. Infanticide and Postpartum Psychosis ...............                    33
b. Infanticide by Mothers with Chronic Mental Disabilities..               36
* Associate Professor, DePauf University College of Law. J.D., M.P.H., 1988, University of Michigan; B.A.,
1983, Cornell University. Heartfelt thanks are due to the many readers who commented upon early drafts of this
Article. Among these are the participants at Cornell University's Program in Ethics and Public Life's Young
Scholar Workshop, with special thanks to Kathryn Abrams, Katharine Baker, Bernardine Dohm, Dorothy
Roberts, and Henry Shue. The following readers provided critical insights and suggestions from a variety of
perspectives: John Decker, Harold Krent, Stephen Landsman, Jane Larson, Larry Marshall, Sallyanne Payton,
Michael Perlin, Nancy Press, Jane Rutherford, Stephen Schulhofer, Steven Siegel, Jeffrey Urdangen, Mark
Weber, and Melissa Whelan, and members of the Chicago Area Feminist Law Colloquium. Heather Fields, J.D.,
1996, DePaul University, worked with me over the course of her three years at DePaul, providing me with
assistance that far surpassed the call of duty. My research assistants Candice Bowen, Dawn Best, Bethany
Hengsbach, and Geri Thomas willingly undertook the laborious tasks associated with helping me pull together the
grim research findings on which this article is based. The supportive attitude and helpful feedback of the editors at
the AMERICAN CRIMINAL LAW REVIEW eased the painful process of revision. Finally, I thank Dean John Roberts
and the DePaul Faculty Research Fund for the generous support that made this Article possible. Special thanks
also to Quijote and Ursula.

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