Infanticide or Murder? Canada’s shifting answer

What is the proper legal response to a mother killing her infant child? In Desperate Measures: Rationalizing the Crime of Infanticide, Canadian law professor Isabel Grant examines the crime of infanticide and issues of statutory interpretation that are currently before the Canadian courts. “The article examines the recent trend towards charging women who kill their newly born children with murder, rather than infanticide, and the resulting judicial development of a defence of infanticide. While the article raises concerns about treating infanticide as a defence, it may be a necessary response to the tendency towards overcharging murder in cases where infanticide is a more appropriate verdict.” Professor Grant argues that treating infanticide as a lesser included crime within murder acknowledges the unique role of women in pregnancy, childbirth, and child-rearing in our society and the reality faced by women who may be young, poor, socially isolated, or mentally ill and find themselves in desperate circumstances.

Teresa Collett

Teresa Stanton Collett is a professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she teaches bioethics, property law, and constitutional law. A nationally prominent speaker and scholar, she is active in attempts to rebuild the Culture of Life and protect the institutions of marriage and family. She often represents groups of state legislators, the Catholic Medical Association, and the Christian Medical and Dental Association in appellate case related to medical-legal matters. She represented the governors of Minnesota and North Dakota before the U.S. Supreme Court as amici curiae regarding the effectiveness of those states’ parental involvement laws. She has served as special attorney general for Oklahoma and Kansas related to legislation designed to protect the well-being of minors and unborn children. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute and has testified before committees of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittees on the Constitution, as well as numerous legislative committees in the states.