Saturday, February 12, 2005

Court Mandated Sterilization...

Is it now OK in the south to kill your children if you promise not to have any more? It would seem that way...

Carisa Ashe, 34 year old mother of seven children, shook her 5 week old daughter until her brain swelled and hemorrhaged...and she died. Ashe was charged with murder and facing life in prison. Two days into the trial a deal was reached --she plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter and agreed to undergo a tubal ligation. Medicaid will pickup the tab for the court-ordered sterilization and Ashe has 90 days to comply. (source)

Her other children (ranging from 1 to 16) are with relatives and in foster care. The District attorney said 'there is a chance she could get her children back' if she 'corrects herself'...? I realize that this woman IS a desirable candidate for sterilization --giving her baby-making zeal and propensity to shake children to death...but does that agreement have to mean NO jail time? What message does that send...?

This is not the first case of this nature. In Louisiana, Brenda Shaffer killed her daughter and left her to decompose in a trash bag. She pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and was sentenced to a tubal ligation surgery. "A Kentucky family court judge has also offered tubal ligation in exchange for jail time since 1993 to several women with multiple children who fell behind on child-support payments. For men, the same judge has ordered a choice between a vasectomy and jail time." (source)

Several state Supreme Court rulings have found that when imposed sterilization is agreed to, by the person who will undergo the procedure; it does not violate any Constitutional protection. I would support sterilization for serial impregnators and serial reproducers (who already have more than 3 children 'in the system') --though these most likely would not be voluntary. With these voluntary cases...I worry about the message that it sends. What is the worth of human life? As a society we have made abortion legal (saying life begins at birth), but then we made exception for partial birth abortion (saying life began at viability) --and now we are saying you can kill your baby...but only if you make it medically impossible to have another...

I understand the reasoning of the judge...but I wish he would have thought about the inherent message of his ruling... Am I totally off-base?

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