Selective Perspectives on Child Abuse

Judie Brown
June 29, 2011
Reproduced with Permission

Mike Thomas, a Florida news commentator, has been analyzing the case of Casey Anthony - the Florida mother accused of murdering her 2-year-old daughter. Thomas wrote a commentary discussing the issue of whether or not Anthony deserves the death penalty/capital punishment. What made his commentary so interesting was that he used the opportunity to reflect on Anthony's fate to touch upon some similar cases involving child abuse.

For example, he wrote about the graphic details of Richard Adams' ghoulish murder of his daughter Kayla. This man literally beat his daughter to death; the measures he used were so appalling that I cannot describe them here. Ultimately Adams did not receive a sentence of death, but is serving a life sentence behind bars.

Another man, Eric Patrick Fletcher, committed a tragic murder when he shook his 7-week-old baby to death. The jury found him guilty and sentenced him to 51 months in jail - one month for each day the child lived.

Each of these men, and others Thomas mentions, killed their own children by using brutal methods that simply cannot be imagined in the mind of a normal, loving parent. What could a child do, I ask, that would be so horrible that a parent would be driven to murder or have their own child killed?

The case of Casey Anthony has, indeed, provoked a great deal of commentary, but none so insightful as that of Mark Pickup, North American advocate for life and disability issues. Mark is the founder of Human Life Matters, an advocacy organization that addresses the needs of all those whose lives are at risk - including preborn babies. Mark wrote the following letter to Mr. Thomas:

In your column about Casey Anthony and the death penalty, you chronicled some cases of child abuse. Your cases barely touched the surface of a child abuse epidemic that has exploded in recent decades. How can this be Mr. Thomas?

Forty years ago, abortion advocates assured us that abortion would eliminate child abuse because only wanted children would be born. Well, we've been aborting children all day long, week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade. Estimates are that 50 million abortions have occurred since 1973. Why has the rate of child abuse skyrocketed? Abortion was supposed to eliminate child abuse. (?)

I know abortion is the sacred cow of the liberal left, but have you ever considered going back to challenge the abortion champions of the 1960s and early 70s - why they were so dreadfully wrong. Where did they get their information indicating child abuse plummets with widely available abortion? We now know that there were no empirical studies to say this. The abortion-child abuse connection did not exist. It was simply a way of gaining public opinion to support abortion.

Mark told me that he doubted that Mr. Thomas' newspaper would print his response, so I asked him if he would mind if I published his letter here. I feel Mark hit the proverbial nail on the head with his statements, and his words are extremely thought provoking.

I find something chilling about a public discussion of deadly child abuse that avoids or ignores the connection between the act of abortion - the ultimate child abuse - and the actions of a parent who would kill or maim a born child.

In one article analyzing the direct relationship between mothers who aborted and the abuse of future children, Doctors David Reardon and Theresa Burke concluded,

The firsthand testimonies of women, combined with therapists' case studies and even media reports of criminal cases involving child abuse or child homicide, conclusively demonstrate that abortion trauma can create or aggravate tendencies toward child abuse. While most women who experience intrusive thoughts about harming their children are probably able to resist these impulses, the fact that these destructive thoughts occur at all is alarming both for the sake of their children and themselves. If even a small fraction of the millions of abortions performed each year lead to abuse of subsequent children, whether in homes or in daycare, this problem should be of grave concern to us all.

Researcher Thomas Strahan has written about this relationship as well. But the media insists on turning a blind eye. The reason, of course, is quite simple: the average reporter or commentary writer does not view the preborn child as a human being, nor does he view the expectant mother as a child abuser when she pays a third party to have her baby killed.

Justice cannot be done until the courts admit that child abuse, before or after birth, is a tragedy that should be punishable under the law. This is not a question of capital punishment; it is a question of honesty.