Infanticide is an intentional practice of taking away the life of an infant. This act is mostly carried out by mothers even though the crime act recognizes a number of child murders which are non-maternal. However, some kinds of infanticide were considered acceptable in the past by many societies. Moreover, the killings of female infants are more rampant as compared to that of male infants.
According to research, infanticide has been practiced in almost every level of society that has ever lived on earth. Even though a lot has been studied concerning human infanticide, it should also be understood that the practice is also observed in many other animal species all over. This is to say that infanticide is also practiced in microscopic living creatures like insects. In addition to this, there are many reasons as to why infanticide is carried out and some of them include sexual conflict and elimination of one gender with the view of increasing the other (Wilson & Daly,2010). In the same line of thought, sexual conflict is characterized by the concept whereby the killer is mostly a male and is up to being the sexual partner of the dead infant’s mother. On the other hand, infanticide is at times carried out by human beings with the aim of eliminating one gender in order to obtain balance in society.
Notably, infanticide has developed with time and this has even led to the introduction of new laws governing the crime. In other words, how people view infanticide has evolved with time whereby the criminal standards of it today owe to the history of the past. For example, the standardization of the crime of infanticide in the 19th century grew from the guidelines of the 18th century. Needless to say, the punishment which infanticide criminals received was drowning or death by the sword. Nonetheless, things improved in the 18th century whereby legal issues concerning infanticide were based on difference specifically the responsibilities of both men and women. In this case, the main aim was to change the nature and place in society of both men and women.
In the 19th century, the rules governing infanticide were upgraded and the law had to differentiate between a legitimate child and an illegitimate one. In this case, mothers who killed children born out of wed locked were not punished severely but those who killed legitimate infants received harsh punishments from the law. Apart from the laws which changed with time the perspective at which people viewed infanticide also changed with time. In the past, single women were the only ones who were punished severely since the society saw them as promiscuous but as time went by, people realized that it was a social problem that affected everyone (Spinelli, 2003).
In other words, infanticide began to view as crime acts that result from the many social influences surrounding an individual. As a result, the severe punishments were reduced and the authorities began looking at the social causes of infanticide in order to come up with ways of preventing it (Muthulakshmi, 1997). In actual fact, it is the revised interpretation of the infanticide crime that leads to the redefinition of the family and the construction of women independence. In addition to this, the methods of eliminating the infants also advanced with time whereby in a place like India feticides were used to get rid of the fetus.
Nevertheless, a number of facts concerning infanticide have not changed at all. This is to say that some of the issues that lead to committing the infanticide crime in the ancient days are still the ones responsible in the contemporary world. In past women committed infanticide due to poverty reasons which are still present today. Besides this, women also killed and are still killing their infants intentionally due to fear of pregnancy.
Evolutionary psychology is concerned with psychological traits which may include language and perception of an individual. In other words, evolutionary psychology is an approach used to elucidate the behavior of human beings based on cognitive science and evolution biology (Hausfate & Hrdy, 2008). However, the contemporary world psychologists argue that much of human characteristics and personalities owe to the psychological adaptations that developed to terminate the consistent inherited problems in the surrounding.
In essence, evolutionary psychology analyses the human nature as a combination of developing psychological adjustments to consistent problems. In reality, evolutionary psychology focuses so much on the adaptability of the human nature in the constantly changing environment. In this case, the difference between evolutionary psychology and non-evolution of infanticide is that the former deals with adaptability capabilities which human beings develop with time while the later refers to unchangeable characteristics of an individual. Otherwise stated, non-evolutionary viewpoint of infanticide stand is all about facts concerning this social issue which does not depend on any environmental changes (Hausfater & Hrdy, 2008).
From the above mentioned points of view, the most appropriate for this topic is the evolutionary infanticide which stands out clearly that this social issue has evolved with time. This is to say that a lot has change concerning infanticide compared to the ancient times. In reality, both methods of carrying out infanticide and the reasons as to why it is carried out have developed with time whereby in the 19th century feticide was used in India to kill the infants . On the other hand, rules and regulations governing the crime of infanticide have also changed with time from capital punishment to life imprisonment.
According to research, infanticide has really evolved with time where women charged with the crime faced severe punishments to today where punishments are at least lenient (Spinelli, 2003). According to Williamson, infanticide has been exercised in every level of society beginning from the hunters and gatherers to the present societies. In fact, there are historical evidence to certify the tendency of parents to kill their children while under stressful conditions.
Apart from this, researchers have also found out that civilization has not reduced the rate of infanticide criminal cases. Even though there are many reasons as to why this evil act is being carried out the most outstanding reasons remain population control and poverty. Population control has continually been carried out due to the food supply which is always done according to the population of any particular country. For this reason, people had and are continuing at times to get rid of some children especially female ones in order to control population growth (Milner, 1998). However, since the ancient times infanticide has never been accepted in society and there are still no reasons of any acceptance in future.
From the evolutionary point of view, it can be said that infanticide has evolved in some areas especially in the laws that govern it. This is because a lot has really changed including the methods used to get rid of the infant. On the other hand, there are also facts concerning infanticide which has not changed at all. For example, in the ancient times the children of the poor were the most affected by infanticide and even today the poor are still venerable to this social issue (Milner, 1998). In addition to this, the reasons as to why infanticide was carried out in the past are still the same major reasons why it is carried out today.
Presumably, the difference between the two points of view concerning infanticide is that from the evolutionary side everything revolving around the human nature develops with time in order to adapt with the surrounding. On the other side, all factors concerning the issue of infanticide as far as non- evolution point of view is concerned all the factors are constant and there are no major changes required.
Finally, there are recent researches concerning infanticide behavior in all animals spices. This is because researchers are hunting information in order to get a better understanding concerning this social issue. In connection to this, both evolutionary and non-evolutionary ideas are really contributing to the research concerning infanticide. However, in one of the articles written by Wilson and Daly (2010) on the topic of infanticide in all types of animals really describes how some of the animals carry out this action for different reasons.
Among many issues discussed in the article, Wilson and Daly gave out the categories of the adaptive rationales which are carried out by Avian and mammalian parents. Some of these reasons include inadequacy of social amenities to be in a position to bring up their young ones appropriately. For this reason, the parents may prefer to do away with the infant for the sake of the parent’s fitness in future. Apart from this, the article has also discussed the human nature in relation to infanticide whereby children who are reared by step parents are more venerable to infanticide. This is because they are brought up with a lot of negligence and may end up dying. More to this point, if a child loses one of the parents and the one left decides to remarry that kinds mortality rate rises, for example in Ache of Paraguay 43 percent of infants brought up by one step parent died before their fifteenth birthday. On the hand, this article also brings out the fact that discriminatory infanticide of female children is still an object of substantial debate (Wilson & Daly, 2010).
In summary, infanticide which is an intentional killing of an infant by the mother is a big crime which has evolved with time. In its development both evolution and non-evolution idea have really added value to it.