“Systematic, repetitive acts of infanticide.”

Atrocious crimes feature so often in the daily news that they begin to lose their power to shock, but the trial of an Australian woman makes a chilling exception. According to the prosecutor, water polo champion Keli Lane was so determined to be selected for the 2000 Sydney Olympics that she “hid” a pregnancy from everyone and, when her daughter was born, she killed her, buried her, and then went to a wedding.

That was in 1996 when Lane was 21. As a result of various sexual relationships she had already had two abortions and — in moments of better judgement — had two babies adopted out. After each birth she would immediately resume her active sporting, social and sex life. She drank heavily and “kept up with the boys”. She was not, as it happens, selected for the Olympic team.

Now 35, Lane denies killing her child and claims that her then boyfriend took the infant away. Maybe. Hopefully. Because it is very hard to accept that a mother would kill her infant with the cold-blooded casualness the prosecution alleges. And yet, only two weeks ago we heard about a French woman, Dominique Cottrez, who admitted suffocating eight of her newborns and concealing their corpses in the garden and garage of her home. Among similar horror stories in recent years was that of Susan F, a German woman who, over a period of six years, killed three of her newborns and hid them around the house.

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The worldwide war on baby girls

XINRAN XUE, a Chinese writer, describes visiting a peasant family in the Yimeng area of Shandong province. The wife was giving birth. “We had scarcely sat down in the kitchen”, she writes (see article), “when we heard a moan of pain from the bedroom next door…The cries from the inner room grew louder—and abruptly stopped. There was a low sob, and then a man’s gruff voice said accusingly: ‘Useless thing!’

“Suddenly, I thought I heard a slight movement in the slops pail behind me,” Miss Xinran remembers. “To my absolute horror, I saw a tiny foot poking out of the pail. The midwife must have dropped that tiny baby alive into the slops pail! I nearly threw myself at it, but the two policemen [who had accompanied me] held my shoulders in a firm grip. ‘Don’t move, you can’t save it, it’s too late.’

“‘But that’s…murder…and you’re the police!’ The little foot was still now. The policemen held on to me for a few more minutes. ‘Doing a baby girl is not a big thing around here,’ [an] older woman said comfortingly. ‘That’s a living child,’ I said in a shaking voice, pointing at the slops pail. ‘It’s not a child,’ she corrected me. ‘It’s a girl baby, and we can’t keep it. Around these parts, you can’t get by without a son. Girl babies don’t count.’”

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Submitted by Doria2