infanticide


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infanticide

(ĭnfăn`təsīd) [Lat.,=child murder], the putting to death of the newborn with the consent of the parent, family, or community. Infanticide often occurs among peoples whose food supply is insecure (e.g., the Chinese and the Eskimo). Female infanticide was common in some traditional patriarchal societies. In certain societies children who are deformed or are believed tainted by evil (e.g., twins) may be slain at birth. In Greece and ancient Rome a child was virtually its father's chattel—e.g., in Roman law, the Patria Potestas granted the father the right to dispose of his offspring as he saw fit. In Sparta the decision was made by a public official. Child sacrifice occurs in many traditional societies for religious reasons, but human sacrificial victims were generally appreciated members of society, unlike victims of infanticide, who were devalued. Christianity, like Islam and Judaism, condemns infanticide as murder, and in all countries the act is a crime. If infanticide served as a means of limiting family size, as many anthropologists believe, then the introduction of contraceptives, abortion, and other methods of population control may have rendered it obsolete.

infanticide

  1. the killing of infants soon after they are born. Several reasons have been identified for the practice of infanticide, especially in nonindustrial societies:
    1. a means of population control, particularly in times of trouble such as FAMINE or war;
    2. a means of eliminating children with undesirable or unacceptable characteristics, such as disabled or sick children. Plato proposed infanticide as an ideal, and the infanticide of ‘defective’ children was practised in Sparta;
    3. a means of eliminating children whose birth is considered TABOO, such as breech births and twins;
    4. a means of reinforcing patriarchal values and behaviour; in many nonindustrial societies it was the practice to kill, or allow to die, many more girls than boys.
  2. (in English law) the manslaughter of a child under the age of 12 months by the child's mother, according to the Infanticide Act of 1938.

Infanticide

Infertility (See BARRENNESS.)
Infidelity (See ADULTERY, CUCKOLDRY, FAITHLESSNESS.)
Astyanax
Hector’s infant son, thrown from the walls of Troy by the Greeks. [Gk. Myth.: Hamilton, 289]
Cronos
warned that a son would dethrone him, swallowed all his children at birth. [Gk. Myth.: Benét, 237]
Sorrel, Hetty
leaves her illegitimate infant to die. [Br. Lit.: Eliot Adam Bede]
References in periodicals archive ?
Through this statement, Barrett Browning also acknowledges the insanity defense that was so common in British infanticide narratives and then dismisses it as distracting from the true cause in this case: the slave system that places black women in untenable positions like the one inhabited by her narrator.
This study demonstrates the infanticide on a well-grown nestling by an adult male Bam Swallow.
The dispute might stem from the way the groups classify the key behaviors: monogamy, infanticide and female territories, says Charles Nunn, an evolutionary anthropologist at Duke University.
adding breast-feeding as a second source of mental disturbance that could support the offence of infanticide.
She argues that only a small percentage of women fitted the stereotype of the infanticidal woman as young, unmarried, seduced and abandoned, driven to infanticide by shame and desperation.
studies of American infanticide, in turn a crucial aspect in modern
Other measures that could reduce baby dumping and infanticide include encouraging adoption and expanded fostering arrangements, revising policy on pregnancy among schoolgirls and also encouraging boys and men to take greater responsibility for their children.
Hats off to Attorney General McDonnell for vigorously defending Virginia's Partial-Birth Infanticide law.
Even if the practice of infanticide were as widespread as claimed, this kind of legislation would simply not deter it.
The researchers wanted to know the influence of sexually selected infanticide and boar densities on cub mortality.
The question of female foeticide and infanticide is part of our investigation, as is illegal abortions,' Superintendent of Police Satish Saxena said from Ratlam town where the grisly find was made in mid-February.
The prosecution accepted her plea of infanticide after two psychiatrists agreed she was suffering from post-natal depression and that the balance of her mind was disturbed at the time of the tragedy.