European Infanticide (1999): In Catholic, conservative Hungary the social stigma of illegitimate children is turning mothers into killers. In the deep snow of a Hungarian winter lie the bloodied bodies of babies beaten to death by their own mothers.
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Without easy access to contraception or free abortions, infanticide is commonplace. Every week babies’ bodies are pulled from rubbish dumps. The fate for mothers who kill can be as much as 15 years in prison. Beneath thick winter coats Timea Manziger managed to keep her pregnancy secret. She gave birth alone and swiftly killed her child. She hoped to avoid the scandal and ruin that would follow the birth, but she was discovered. The court psychiatrist issues his assessment of Timea; “Clear headed… average intellectual capabilities.” Her sanity condemns her to a jail term. In Budapest they are trying to stop the crude murders by allowing women to hand over babies anonymously. It’s a short-term solution while attitudes remain conservative. In a sex education class a health worker beseeches the assembled girls to seek help from family and friends if they fall pregnant. Yet in villages where unmarried mothers face a life as destitute social outcasts, her advice may not deter women from seeking more radical solutions.
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For similar stories, see:
Female Infanticide Is Rife In India (2012)
India’s Disappearing Girls (2010)
Romania’s Abandoned Children Living In Inhumane Conditions (2007)
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