Infanticide: Cross Cultural Analysis of the Causes of Infanticide

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Infanticide is not unique to humans. It is practiced by many mammals including some primates. The main difference between human and animal infanticide is that infanticide in humans is performed by the parent(s) of the child while in the case of animals it is usually a male suitor (Caldwell and Caldwell, 2005, p. 208). In pre-modern societies infanticide was done instead of abortions as it allowed for sexual selection, it was much more effective than pre-modern contraception, and it did not require any special skills or esoteric knowledge (Caldwell and Caldwell,2005, p. 205). Infanticide has a history as a method of population control. It is more frequent to throw away girl babies. This may be because of dowries or other cultural reasons.…show more content…
101). In one study by D'Orban, it was shown that 26% of 89 infanticide cases involved mental illness. (Porter and Gavin, 2010, p. 101). Other reasons for infanticide include an unwanted infant, revenge against the father, and financial reasons. Culture is a foremost determinant of resource availability which has a direct effect on infanticide numbers. Cultural factors play a role in isolation and lack of kin support, relationship difficulties and a lack of paternal support and a lack of resources (Kunst and Reed, 1999, p. 154). Infanticide is higher when women do not have economic resources or the support of the father. Evolutionary theories propose that when resources are limited, the parents and other children are more likely to survive without the newborn infant. A young mother has potential to replace this infant at more economically convenient time (Friedman et al, 2012, p. 591). A common reason given for infanticide in Bolivia is that there is "not enough land" or that the mother has "too many children" (C. de Hilari et al, 2009, p. 356). Studies have shown women who kill their newborns are usually under 25, immature, unmarried and often uninvolved with the father, and either unemployed or in school (Porter & Gavin, 2010, p. 100). The burden of an infant may be too much when the woman does not have financial support or financial independence. In cultures where women
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