Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Mental Illness and... Justice?

Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children in 2001 after suffering postpartum depression, was found innocent today by reason of insanity. I agree that she does not belong in a prison but, rather, in a mental institution, where she will likely spend the remainder of her life.

The tragedy of the case is lies in its preventability. She had a history of suicide. She had a history of depression, of postpartum depression. From the New York Times:

'One of her psychiatrists, Dr. Eileen Starbranch, who told the court that she ranked Ms. Yates “among the five sickest patients she had ever seen,” warned the Yateses in 1999 that Ms. Yates could suffer another psychotic episode if she had more children. Ms. Yates went on to have a fifth child after that warning.'

So I ask you, why has her husband not been held somehow responsible in this case? Obviously I am not a lawyer, nor at all familiarized with court proceedings, but my guess would be that he had the final say when they had that last child. They lived in Texas, the Bible belt, and she herself told police that Satan was inside her and she was trying to save the children from hell. It's reasonable to assume that she submitted herself not only to God but to her husband.

From, on the subject of Andrea and Rusty:

'They eventually moved in together and spent much of their time involved in religious study and prayer. They were married on April 17, 1993. They shared with their guests that they planned on having as many children as nature provided.'

'Michael Woroniecki was a traveling minister from whom Rusty purchased their bus and whose religious views had influenced both Rusty and Andrea. Rusty only agreed with some of Woroniecki's ideas but Andrea embraced the extremist sermons. He preached, "the role of women is derived from the sin of Eve and that bad mothers who are going to hell create bad children who will go to hell." Andrea was so totally captivated by Woroniecki that Rusty and Andrea's family grew concerned.'

'In March of 2000, Andrea, on Rusty's urging, became pregnant and stopped taking the Haldol [an anti-psychotic drug]. On November 30, 2000, Mary was born. Andrea was coping but on March 12, her father died and immediately her mental state digressed. She stopped talking, refused liquids, mutilated herself, and would not feed Mary. She also frantically read the Bible.'

So there you have it. Rusty wanted that fifth child. So essentially he ended six lives.

And today, he is living free, remarried.

1 comment:

David said...

Thus proving once again that religion is the greatest evil in the world.

(Not to be confused with faith)

And I suppose I'm going to have to start reading this as well too? Shall I simply be forced to use the blog as well?


Anyways, see ya.