Hooray! The Texas legislature is actually considering lightening penalties for mothers killing babies. I guess the prisons are overcrowded with women who kill their infants and so they have to let them go sooner?
The excuse offered by the bill is that women can’t help it because they have had their judgment impaired by “childbirth or lactation.” Yes, all those breastfeeding moms out there are INSANE!!! I wonder why I haven’t killed my kids yet, I mean I was a breastfeeding mother for nearly 5 years straight between my two boys. All that lactating should’ve done me in by now… And childbirth, we all know women who had a baby MUST be insane. It’s just a matter of fact.
So let’s let the mom out in 2 years, and perhaps they can then send her to the psych ward. If she takes all her meds, perhaps they will let her out and she can have another baby and maybe kill that one too. Or maybe they will never let her out and this is just a way to get her into the psych hospital faster. Who knows. I wonder what could possess a person to believe that killing your baby is less of a bad idea than killing someone older. I guess because they are smaller it makes it more acceptable? Certainly if they pass The MOTHERS Act Texas will have more murdering mothers on their hands.
My understanding is that they met on the bill in committee Monday but there is still some time to contact the committee. As soon as I can get some numbers together I will update here.
Rep. Joseph Moody
House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence (C220) Clerk: Andrew Cates
Legislature: 81(R) – 2009 Phone: (512) 463-0768
Appointment Date: 2/12/2009 Room: EXT E2.112
Chair: Rep. Pete Gallego – 512-463-0566; fax 512-236-9408
Vice Chair: Rep. Wayne Christian – 512-463-0556; fax 512-463-5896
Members: Rep. Allen Fletcher – 512-463-0661; fax – 512-463-4130
Rep. Terri Hodge – 512-463-0586; fax 512-436-8147
Rep. Carol Kent – 512-463-0454; fax – 512- 463-1121
Rep. Robert Miklos – 512-463-0464; fax 512-463-9295
Rep. Joseph E. Moody – 512-463-0728; fax 512-463-0397
Rep. Paula Pierson – 512-463-0562; fax 512-463-2053
Rep. Debbie Riddle – 512- 463-0572, fax 512-463-1908
Rep. Allen Vaught – 512-463-0244; fax 512-463-9967
Rep. Hubert Vo – 512-463-0568; fax 512-463-0548
The bill’s sponsor: Rep. Jessica Farrar – 512-463-0620; fax 512-463-0894
The bill basically says that if a woman kills her child within 12 months of birth and her judgment is impaired due to birth or lactation she gets a lesser penalty – a state jail felony.
H.B. No. 3318
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
relating to creating an offense for infanticide.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Section 19.01(b), Penal Code, is amended to read
(b) Criminal homicide is murder, capital murder,
manslaughter, infanticide, or criminally negligent homicide.
SECTION 2. Chapter 19, Penal Code, is amended by adding
Section 19.08 to read as follows:
Sec. 19.08. INFANTICIDE. (a) A person commits an offense
if the person wilfully by an act or omission causes the death of a
child to whom the person gave birth within the 12-month period
preceding the child’s death and if, at the time of the act or
omission, the person’s judgment was impaired as a result of the
effects of giving birth or the effects of lactation following the
(b) An offense under this section is a state jail felony.
SECTION 3. The change in law made by this Act applies only
to an offense committed on or after the effective date of this Act.
An offense committed before the effective date of this Act is
covered by the law in effect when the offense was committed, and the
former law is continued in effect for that purpose. For purposes of
this section, an offense was committed before the effective date of
this Act if any element of the offense was committed before that date.
This Act takes effect September 1, 2009.
Texas Could Be First State to Have Infanticide Law
Bill would make postpartum disorder legal defense
Postpartum mental disorder could be used as a legal defense for women who kill their children under a bill introduced in the Legislature.
The bill was filed this month by Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, and it applies to women who commit the crime within a year of giving birth, The Dallas Morning News reported in Sunday editions. If jurors find a mother guilty of murder, they could take testimony about postpartum issues into consideration during the trial’s punishment phase.
If jurors find that the woman’s judgment was impaired because of childbirth or lactation, they could judge her guilty of infanticide, a state jail felony that would carry a maximum punishment of two years in jail.
“It’s something every civilized country has on its books,” said Parnham, who supports the legislation. “The only thing that will change public attitude is education about postpartum issues.”
McKinney attorney David Haynes, who defended Dena Schlosser, said Farrar’s bill “recognizes the great stress that some mothers are under when they suffer from postpartum depression.”
Yates drowned her five children — ranging in age from 7 years to 6 months — in June 2001 at her family’s home in Houston. She was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2002.
An appeals court in 2005 overturned her conviction because of some erroneous testimony. Yates was found innocent by reason of insanity in July 2006 and sent to a state mental hospital.
Schlosser, who killed her 10-month-old daughter in 2004 by cutting off her arms with a kitchen knife, was recently released from the state mental hospital where she’d been sent after being found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Schlosser was released into outpatient treatment because her doctors believe she’s mentally stable, a Collin County prosecutor has said. She is required to see a psychiatrist once a week, take medication, be on a physician-approved birth control and not have any unsupervised contact with children.
Shannon Edmonds, legislative liaison for the Texas District & County Attorneys Association, said the legislative proposal would have to be thoroughly reviewed.
“Anytime something novel like this is proposed,” he said, “it needs to be fully vetted so that legislators can make informed decisions and be sure there are no unintended consequences.”
Postpartum depression is recognized as a legal defense in at least 29 nations, including Britain, which has had an infanticide law since 1922.
“These countries have accepted the reality of postpartum mood disorders,” said Susan Dowd Stone, chair of the President’s Advisory Council for Postpartum Support International, a California-based advocacy group.
Postpartum psychosis is a rare condition that generally affects women with extreme sensitivity to hormonal fluctuations and a history of mental illness, Stone said.
“We do not want women who abuse children to use this defense,” Stone said. “There are very clear guidelines for postpartum psychosis.”
Even though Stone believes that women who suffer from postpartum disorder need treatment, not imprisonment, she recognizes that “infanticide with no jail time would not fly. Our country is not ready for that.”