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In the Merriam Webster dictionary, infanticide is a term described as the act of killing an infant. Other sources describe it as the act of killing one’s own child, or killing of a child less than 12 months old. Female infanticide is more common than the killing of male offspring. More often than not, it is the mother who does the killing.

Infanticide has been recorded as far back as the ancient world, where they would abandon the infant by leaving it die to die of hunger, thirst, animal attack, or hypothermia. In some cultures they would drown the infants, and some used infants as sacrifices. Carthagians would sacrifice their infants to gods. Charred remains have been found in Charthagian archeological sites. Approximately 20,000 urns were found with the charred remains of infants. Interestingly, in ancient Egypt it was forbidden to kill infants. There are no records of infanticide in ancient Egyptian households.

Ancient Greeks did not believe in sacrifice for either a child or an adult, however, they practiced exposure of newborns. This meant that if someone wanted to get rid of an infant, they would leave it to be “rescued by the gods” or a passerby. Inevitably, the child would die from exposure to the elements, get eaten by an animal, or starve to death.

Infanticide has increased at a greater rate in the more modern times. Some of the factors that have historically affected the infanticide rate are human sacrifice, population control, poverty, devaluation of females, birth defects, and illegitimacy.

There are various religious views and stances on the subject of infanticide. The Jews were against taking of any human life, and forbade the act of killing an infant. However, there were several instances i...

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...ecause these babies were not born in a hospital. Another interesting fact is that mothers are usually the ones who kill their newborns during the first week of life, but after that it is usually the father who commits the act.

The reasons that a parent would choose to kill their infant are many, depending on where they live, economic status, psychological condition, etc… Prevention and awareness are the keys in helping to decrease the numbers of innocent babies and children dying at the hands of their parent(s).

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