Woman Kills Her Six Newborns, Claims "Pregnancy Denial"
- 2010/03/15 19:14:15
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On Monday, Celine Lesage, a 38-year-old French woman confessed to killing her six newborn babies, all of whom were born between 2000 and 2007. And not only did she kill them soon after they were born, she kept their bodies in plastic bags in her basement - even taking the bags with her when she moved.
"During questioning by investigators, Lesage acknowledged strangling two
of the newborns and suffocating four others, according to judicial
documents," MSNBC reports, adding "at the time of her arrest, prosecutor Michel Garrandaux said she
described giving birth to the first five alone in the apartment she
shared with...her boyfriend at the time."
Although it's unclear at this time what Lesage's defense attorneys will try to do, a "string of similar cases" involving mothers murdering their newborns sweeping through Germany, and a second French case involving a woman who kept 2 of her murdered babies in her freezer, all point to a possible plea of "pregnancy denial."
What exactly is pregnancy denial? Well, right now it's basically just a term that has yet to be recognized as a real mental disorder, but there is a group of people who are doing their best to get the term legitimized.
Felix Navarro, president of the French Association for the Recognition
of Pregnancy Denial, was recently interviewed by a French media outlet about the mounting cases of infant murders in his country. While Navarro admitted that pregnancy denial is "not classified as a psychiatric illness," he claims that "doctors know it well."
To Navarro and others who agree with him, pregnancy denial boils down to women not knowing they're pregnant. According to Navarro, these women don't gain much weight, sometimes even have their periods, and go through nine months of carrying a fetus without realizing they're doing it.
"One must understand the circumstances under which these situations
arise," Navarro told the French media. "A woman who has total pregnancy denial suffers terribly painful
symptoms that she doesn’t understand. Her water breaks and she sees
something coming out of her body: something she can’t fully discern,
something that is sometimes inanimate and that the woman doesn’t
necessarily identify as a baby."
Using pregnancy denial as a defense, women like Celine Lesage can claim that they killed their babies during delivery or right after because they just "didn't know what was happening."
A defense like that could make sense if someone had one baby without knowing it. But six babies, who were all kept for years in plastic bags after they were killed, is not pregnancy denial. That's murder, with a hefty dose of mental illness thrown in.
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