Off with her…ovaries?

13 Nov

Lisa Ann Diaz drowned her 2 daugthers in 2003

She was released last week as “mentally stable”

On one hand, I get it. She was nuts, and now she isn’t. Been there, bought the ashtray. She had a psychotic break, tried to kill herself, and is now “ok”. So she walks out the door, having only to see a mental health worker daily and prove she’s taking her medication.

She could have more kids.

The part of me who remembers what my own “break” was like reads this story with a heavy heart, fighting to not have a kneejerk-book her sarge! reaction. She wouldn’t have been herself. She was out of her mind, schizophrenic, unmedicated and dangerous. Keeping her in a hospital or jail while medicated wouldn’t have helped, wouldn’t stop or help anyone. You aren’t criminally responsible if you didn’t mean to commit the crime. She didn’t mean to do it.

I had myself fixed, so I would never ever again chance getting pregnant, and going even more nuts with the PPD. I KNOW that I’m a risk to myself and my children. One more would assuredly kill me, and at least one child. It’s not worth it.

But I wonder if this woman had the presence of mind to do this, or if this is some secret part of the “deal”. Should someone convicted of killing their children for any mental reason be allowed to possibly reproduce again? That many be an ethical slippery slope, but is it not even more ethically repugnant to allow someone like this to get pregnant, and possibly repeat what happened? If she stops taking her meds, and has more children, what could happen? Who would be responsible? It’s not like we’d had a sign around her neck, or Andrea Yates, or Susan Smith. But do we, as a society, have a responsibility to innocents to disallow the privilege of reproducing to these women?

I’d like to say that we don’t, but I believe otherwise. As I’d like to see certain classes of crimes in which men are generaly the perpetrators punished my castration, part of the punishment for killing your kids should be no kids. You can’t force someone to take medication forever. You can’t ensure they use a rubber. You can’t always protect a child from it’s own mother.

I don’t believe this women are culpable, but I do believe that measures should be taken to prevent history from repeating itself. We at least owe children that much, don’t we?

8 Responses to “Off with her…ovaries?”

  1. liprap November 13, 2006 at 12:24 pm #

    In this day and age, when pedophiles and child molesters have only recently been mandatorily registered and the neighborhoods in which they live notified of their presence, this gets touchy.

    Add in the ways in which we are still trying to understand and treat mental health, the fact that the women’s movement still has a ways to go, and the battles over abortion rights, and we have SUCH a rat’s nest on this one.

    Because the position of women in general is still kind of tenuous, any advances in the understanding of our brain chemistries could well be spun into another way of keeping women down and controlling their right to do what they want with their bodies.

    Personally, I think if you really can’t handle the birth of your own children and the care and feeding of them, take steps to make sure you won’t have them. Imposing that on someone else can get tricky, though…

  2. thordora November 13, 2006 at 1:37 pm #

    I know…it’s such a loaded thing for me, but at the same time, in the quest for “personal” freedoms, I wonder sometimes what we sacrifice. Despite my own distaste for lemming like behaviour, are we doing ourselves a disserve by refusing to draw a line in the sand in certain regards?

    But yeah, there’s a certain bit of a eugenics taste in my mouth with this one. But I can’t help wondering if 2 years is enough to actually fix this. My husbands aunt is also afflicted with schizophrenia, and I’ve seen what happens when she goes off her meds. THAT is what frightens me.

    Looking for other points of view on this, as I know I’m blinded by my experiences.

  3. Venessa November 13, 2006 at 2:20 pm #

    I totally understand your concern. But I don’t think that regulating who has kids is the answer. There are lots of people with undiagnosed conditions (or no conditions at all, just bad tempers) who have kids and abuse them and no one ever knows. I think that if we had a society that didn’t use words like “normal,” people who are ill would be more inclined to seek help. And if mental illness wasn’t so taboo people could TALK about their experiences without the fear of rejection, and they may be less likely to be violent. Or at least they could tell someone before they did anything, and prevent the situation.

  4. Squirrel November 13, 2006 at 2:55 pm #

    Liprap said it all. All I can say is great post and great comment ladies!

  5. Caitlin November 13, 2006 at 6:06 pm #

    I’ve been thinking on this all day. For me, it comes down to three things:
    1)Was her disorder properly diagnosed?
    2)Did she have meds that worked well and without nasty side effects or were she and her doctor still working on finding something that worked and was covered by insurance?
    3)Does she have a history of skipping appointments and meds and was she properly counseled on the effects and possible consequences of skipping her meds?

    To me, it’s different if a woman was properly diagnosed and had affordable meds without horrible side effects and still chose not to take them. I have a much harder time being sympathetic to them.

    My doctor in college thought I was depressed because I wanted birth control, not a baby and I didn’t wear makeup. My former GP misdiagnosed my PPD not once, but twice. The first meds I took for it gave me pretty bad migraines, and the three weeks I was on it was hell. Migraines + a rambunctious toddler don’t mix. I couldn’t function at all until we tried a new med. Based on my experiences, I’d have a hard time wanting to involuntarily sterilize a mother who had a similar experience getting diagnosed and finding working meds.

    We do have birth control options that work about as well (or better) than sterilization. I think the state should arrange and pay for a voluntary sterilization in those cases or IUD insertion and removal every 5 years. And if you go the IUD route, you have to stay on medical parole to make sure you don’t get pregnant. I would be willing to give women who were misdiagnosed a second chance after having the IUD for 5 years, passing blood tests on a regular basis, and psych reports showing her progress, and agreeing to monitoring post pregnancy.

  6. thordora November 13, 2006 at 6:11 pm #

    I like that idea Caitlin. I was uncomfortable writing what I wrote.

    I worry that until mental illness IS considered a illness worth treating, sterilization will be the ONLY option. Most of us have stories of idiot GP’s refusing to believe that we might possibly GASP! know what our bodies are saying. I had a OB/GYN argue with me about my BCP causing my depression to worsen-she wouldn’t change it, OR help me with the depression.

    Man, how I wish all doctors really were in the business of making people feel better.

  7. ann adams November 13, 2006 at 10:55 pm #

    I’m torn too. I’m sick at the thought of any child being harmed. On the other hand, forced sterilization scares me.

    I do like the idea of the long term IUD. That would buy some time.

  8. Missy November 14, 2006 at 3:35 am #

    Don’t we castrate the violent guys?

    (I don’t really know, just grasping here…)

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