What we have come to: Canadian mother strangles newborn, goes free

This news has to give all of us pause:

An Alberta judge has let a woman who strangled her newborn son walk free by arguing that Canada’s absence of a law on abortion signals that Canadians “sympathize” with the mother.

“We live in a country where there is no protection for children in the womb right up until birth and now this judge has extended the protection for the perpetrator rather than the victim, even though the child is born and as such should be protected by the court,” said Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition.

Katrina Effert of Wetaskiwin, Alberta gave birth secretly in her parents’ downstairs bathroom on April 13, 2005, and then later strangled the newborn and threw his body over a fence.  She was 19 at the time.

She has been found guilty of second-degree murder by two juries, but both times the judgment was thrown out by the appeals court.  In May, the Alberta Court of Appeal overturned her 2009 murder conviction and replaced it with the lesser charge of infanticide.

On Friday, Effert got a three-year suspended sentence from Justice Joanne Veit of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench.  As a result, she was able to walk out of court, though she will have to abide by certain conditions.

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18 responses to “What we have come to: Canadian mother strangles newborn, goes free”

  1. Yes indeed, what we have come to; even though Canada is far advanced into the Brave New World or post-Christianity.

    Strangle the baby, throw it over the fence and leave it there. It shows such callousness or better said, such a total lack of concern which indicates a mind deprived of the most basic decency. Surely people will come to the rescue to justify the act but it remains brutal and uncaring.

    Am sure that if someone had had suffocated a litter of puppies and thrown their bodies over the fence the punishment would have been harsher for “abusing animals”. Good grief!

  2. Of course, those of us decades ago who prophetically warned that abortion is merely the slippery slope to infanticide and euthanasia were ridiculed and ignored. Sadly, pro-choice Liberal Catholics and organizations, Catholic politicians, and mainstream Protestants all had a hand in this child’s death. There will soon be more blood on their hands.

  3. Before rushing to ill-conceived condemnation and judgement of an entire country based on the actions of one individual (the judge) no matter how unacceptable they may be to us, I might suggest spending some time reflecting on Matthew 7:1-5.

    I read the LifeSiteNews article, and so I saw this:

    “Infanticide proponent Peter Singer, a top ethicist at Princeton University, has said, for example, “there is no sharp distinction between the foetus and the newborn baby.” [ … ] “Though he once was considered to be on the radical fringe, Singer’s views are becoming more mainstream.” (from the article)

    and I also saw this:

    “..the world’s most prestigious bioethics journal, The Hastings Center Report, published in 2008 an enthusiastic defense of the Netherlands’ practice of euthanizing newborns.” (also from the article)

    That’s The Hastings Center, 21 Malcolm Gordon Road,
    Garrison, New York.

    So should I then make an argument that the Unites States is “lost to western civilization?” I would hope not.

    God bless

  4. This is beyond words. I’m so shocked that I can’t even express outrage. But outrage at who, the mother or the judge? I can kind of see how a young woman might feel trapped enough to do such a crazy thing, though it’s inexcusable. I’m actually more shocked at the judge for his twisted, sick logic. He is acting out of some calculated value system. The mother is sinful, the judge is evil.

  5. Barbara:

    “…the judge appears to be a woman. Somehow, I don’t find that surprising”

    I find it VERY surprising!!

  6. @Barbara #7
    “the judge appears to be a woman. Somehow, I don’t find that surprising.”

    Thank you. I didn’t notice that. I don’t know what I should think except that she’s probably a radical feminist.

    I just re-read the article and noticed this:

    “In May, the Alberta Court of Appeal overturned her 2009 murder conviction and replaced it with the lesser charge of infanticide.”

    Infanticide is a lesser charge than murder? What? Why is it not the same as murder? Disgraceful! Outrageous!

  7. I’m assuming that Canada has something like our “safe haven” laws; where a baby under 30 days can be left at a hospital or designated safe place and the parents won’t be prosecuted. Even though all the states now have these laws, you still hear about these kinds of incidents. I find it mind boggling that these girls can’t make some kind of plan for the child’s welfare; a pregnancy is 9 months long, you can’t be in denial the whole time. Also find it mind boggling that a girl’s parents could be unaware that she was pregnant, if she was still living at home. My mother would have figured it out in about 2 weeks.

  8. You knew it was heading in this direction. It won’t be long before courts will be allowing termination of “life unworthy of life”, a phrase students of Nazism will all too easily recognize.

  9. Greta,#12: Using birth control might have prevented this situation! Better no pregnancy at all, than killing the baby at birth, IMO.

  10. dcndon,

    The difference is that the things you mention are private individuals and institutions. In the Canadian case we have an act of the judiciary. If the judge’s decision reflects the state of Canadian law — in what purports to be a democracy, therefore with the consent of the people of Canada — then Canada is saying that infanticide should not be punished.

    It is true that we aren’t much better when it comes to protecting innocent human life, but at least infanticide can’t be committed with impunity here — yet. We are perilously close, having a President who adamantly refused to support a “born alive” bill when he was in the Illinois legislature. But again, that’s just him, not the law of the land.

  11. naturgesetz, having reread all of the available material on this decision (the judgement is not yet visible on the Court of Queen’s Bench web site) I am even less convinced than before that the judge said anything like what is quoted in LifeSiteNews, that:

    “Canada’s absence of a law on abortion signals that Canadians “sympathize” with the mother.

    Not at all. The judge (if quoted accurately) said:

    1: Many Canadians undoubtedly view abortion as a less than ideal solution to unprotected sex and unwanted pregnancy…

    I agree with that – it’s a whole *lot* less than ideal. But the judge added that in spite of this,

    2: …they generally understand, accept and sympathize with the onerous demands pregnancy and childbirth exact from mothers, especially mothers without support.

    Absolutely. Single parenthood is a challenge at the best of times, and this troubled teenager (19 at the time, not 25) could relatively easily been overwhelmed by #2. But I do not believe this is a statement justifying infanticide.

    That said, in a parliamentary system laws can frequently be passed that do not accurately reflect the will or beliefs of the country as a whole. “With the consent of the people of Canada” is a phrase that has a lot of slippery slope in it. If I were to say that George Bush was elected over Al Gore “with the consent of the people of the United States” I would likely encounter some deserved opposition; in fact the popular vote was won by Gore by 543,895 votes (Public Disclosure Division, Federal Election Commission)

    ON the abortion issue in Canada, poll numbers indicate there is no solid consensus, but even they can be a bit strange. While slightly less than half (46.6%) of survey respondents indicated support for abortion, more than half (51.8%) believe that the fetus is a human being at conception while 38.5% think the contrary. (Canadian Press/Leger Marketing 2001)

    Essentially, the country is split almost right down the middle on the issue, and I will be among the first to admit that it is because those of us who choose life do not seem to be as monolithically organized and targeted as our opponents. We have to do better.

    Canada is not saying infanticide should not be punished. This is one decision by one judge – not the Supreme Court – and I believe the judge is saying *in this case* the mother is not deserving of more punishment for what that teenager did 6 years ago.

    Whether we agree or disagree with this result, I do not believe it establishes anything close to a case law precedent that would be of much use in the future.

    That said, I restate my original point: this issue does not justify the condemnation and judgement of an entire country.

    God bless.

  12. naturgesetz (followup):

    I apologize for what appears (on viewing the post) to be a very long-winded reply, but I believed you deserved a thoughtful and serious response.

    God bless.

  13. DcnDon,

    Thank you for that response. Your points about the workings of democratic political systems and the divisions of opinion in Canada on right to life issues are well taken, as is the point that the decision in question is of limited, if any, force as law beyond the specific proceedings.

    It is one of the weaknesses of public opinion that it can be based on incomplete, sometimes inaccurate, accounts of events. (It can also be of value, even if poorly informed, if it encourages further explanation and discussion of what at first glance seems inexplicable and unjustifiable.)

    Perhaps, if we had observed the entire proceedings, we would agree with the judge that no further jail time was needed. Perhaps we would think that she was too lenient. But, while I may fear that the West is becoming lost to Western Civilization, clearly I went too far in consigning Canada to the ranks of the barbarians outside the gates.

    Thanks again for the fraternal correction.

  14. naturgesetz, I strongly believe in examining things rationally but all that rationality aside, I find more and more times these days when I am tempted to despair for the future of our collective culture. May God grant us the strength to stand up for what’s right.

    God bless.

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