Friday, September 28, 2007

Teri Rhodes Multiple Choice; "D," None of the Above

After this news story, I scoured blogs for commentaries on the following:

August 12, 2007: Teri Rhodes, 18, college student at Mercyhurst College in PA, gave birth to a baby girl in her bathroom and used a plastic bag to suffocate her while taking a shower in the bathtub where she laid the baby. The baby literally died at Rhodes' feet. Rhodes is now charged with murder and conspiracy to hide a death of a baby. The handful of blogs that have written about this incident have been disapproving of Rhodes committing murder, but not one blogger has placed the final blame on this woman for the death of her newborn baby.

Instead, I perused blogs and comments about that poor girl needing psychotherapy, education, yada yada, and how poverty increases the infanticide rate. I also read blogs that chastised society for not providing better prenatal and postnatal care with counseling, chastised pharmacists for refusing to dispense morning after pills, and even suggested that Rhodes should have had gotten an abortion, as if that were a more preferable method of disposing of her daughter. I also caught comments that the physicians in charge of Rhodes care were incompetent to diagnose her pregancy (this deserves a "no duh!"), and thus absolving Rhodes of some of the blame.

Excuse A: Infanticide is common among young, poor, uneducated females anywhere in the world. We might consider Rhodes young for being an American, but at 18, she's legally an adult and way older than what's considered young by the world's stats. Poor and uneducated at a private Catholic college majoring in Biology and Medical Technology? Hardly.

Excuse B: Pregnant women need care and counseling and sex ed to make rational decisions about pregancy and birth and...I guess murder as well. Last time I checked, there are pregnancy resources everywhere, especially on the internet, where Rhodes spent lots of time net searching for ways to kill her unborn baby in the months leading up to birth. Rhodes had ready access to all of the above, so her actions seem perfectly rational to me. Placing additional blame on the incompetence of the college's sports physician for not detecting what should have been an obvious pregancy does get a nod (Rhodes received a physical two days before giving birth in which he did ask her about, and she denied, pregancy). The doctor may have dropped the ball, but it doesn't remove any blame from Rhodes.

Excuse C: Rhodes could have gotten an abortion or taken the morning after pill. Granted, those options are legal and would have spared Rhodes a murder charge. Even if she opted for either alternative, however, the result would still have been the same: death.

I have a deep compassion for Rhodes being alone in her ordeal and for what her emotional states must have been throughout her pregancy. She does need counseling, and lots of it...while she's in jail. She's a rebellious, irresponsible, lying murderer.

She's rebellious for thinking that having sex before marriage is a good idea (against her Catholic upbringing);

Irresponsible if she thinks that sex doesn't produce a baby that she has obligations to;

Lying for denying her pregancy and any help related to pregancy;

And murder, for all the obvious reasons.

Legally and morally, Rhodes is a mess, and because she chose to go it alone, she alone should bear the blame, not all the other people above who might have somehow changed her circumstances for her. That is the point, missed and ignored as it is.

In case you're wondering, this hits home for me. I have a daughter who one day might get pregnant before marriage, God forbid. I pray for Rhodes, that the severity of her actions impacts her, that she realizes some truths about herself, and finally, that she learns of redemption in the person of Christ. There's more to this story that I have to express...I'll have to put in another post.

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