Mom Kills 8 Babies; Mental Illness Should Not Provide Excuse

Julie Ryan Evans

Dominique CottrezYou may have read the shocking, heartbreaking story about the woman in France, Dominique Cottrez, who year after year got pregnant, delivered babies, then killed them -- 8 babies in all during an 18-year period.

My heart breaks for those children and for all the people who yearn for children of their own. It's unimaginable that anyone could just throw those lives away time and time again ... especially a mother.

Her attorney told The Guardian she is "tired, worn out, and battered down" but also relieved after confessing.

"She doesn't have to carry this on her conscience anymore and that's a form of relief," he said.

While I'm glad the truth has come out, I don't believe she deserves any relief -- from her conscience or from the law.

There is currently a debate as to if she suffered from pregnancy denial syndrome and if it can be used in her defense, possibly preventing her from serving prison time. Experts disagree as to if the syndrome really exists, and I disagree as to if what she was suffering from really matters.

I struggle every time a story like this comes up, because while I believe mental illness can completely consume someone, I don't think it should play into sentencing. Doesn't anyone who commits any atrocious crime have to be at least a little bit mentally ill?

I'm not a legal expert, but it seems any crime could be explained away by some sort of diagnosis. I say the reason why they committed a crime should matter a whole lot less than the crime itself.

She worked as a nurse's aide. Her two grown daughters describe her as a "doting mother" and wonderful grandmother. She was a functional, seemingly normal woman on many levels.

Then she delivered her own babies, looked at their sweet little faces, into their trusting eyes ... and killed them. Some, she put in the garage; others were buried in the backyard.

So to try and explain it all away with this syndrome or that syndrome makes me crazy. Mental illness may provide an explanation for atrocious actions, but it shouldn't ever provide an excuse.

I hope Cottrez is prosecuted to the full extent of the law and that she sets an example for any other ill women out there that just because you are sick, it doesn't mean your actions don't count just as much.


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