Earlier this week, Jezebel writer Joanna Rothkopf wrote about a 20-year-old university student in Ohio who was charged with “aggravated murder, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.” Emily Weaver was arrested after reportedly asphyxiating the newborn she had delivered near her sorority house. She faces $1 million bail and a potential life sentence without parole.
Kothkopf commented: “(If) she had dropped the child off at the police station— just an eight-minute walk from her sorority house —she would have faced no charges.” According to the Columbus Dispatch, the state has had a “safe haven” law since 2001. Mothers can anonymously “leave their baby up to 30 days old at a fire station or with someone such as a hospital employee, police officer or emergency medical worker” without facing prosecution.
This story speaks to the need for our society to reach out to those around us, and provide for parents in crisis. All people – whether child or adult, man or woman, inside or outside the womb – need to be treated in accordance with the dignity we all possess, just by virtue of our being human. The devaluing of human life before birth has certainly led to the devaluing of life afterwards. We are all affected when violence against other human beings becomes commonplace, especially when the youngest and weakest of our kind are involved.