On Tuesday, Casey Anthony was found not guilty of first degree murder, manslaughter and child abuse in the death of her two-year-old daughter. Anthony failed to report her daughter missing for 31 days, during which time she was seen partying publicly. She repeatedly lied during the investigation, for which she was sentenced to a few misdemeanors. According to a USA Today/Gallup Poll, 64% of Americans believe Anthony definitely or probably murdered her daughter. (Source)
People are outraged. Perhaps it’s because Anthony’s lawyers brought a pretty weak defense. They did their job of raising reasonable doubt in jurors’ minds, but they didn’t convince most of the American public.
If I were Casey Anthony’s lawyer, I would have tried an entirely different defense. It would have gone something like this:
We’re not denying that Casey Anthony killed her daughter. However, we will prove to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Anthony did nothing wrong and should not be punished for her decision.
Anthony never asked to be burdened with a child. She was young and she was living her life and this daughter was thrust upon her. You have no idea how much having a baby changed Anthony’s life. She was incapable of doing what she wanted to do. It was infringing on her rights.
Besides being a burden, the child had little chance at a happy life. It was unwanted. Its mother wasn’t ready for parenthood. It might have been neglected, maybe even abused. Don’t we need a world where every child is a wanted child?
The decision to terminate parenthood was a difficult one, and Anthony made it only after serious consideration. But ultimately, the choice was hers. Anthony was the only one qualified to determine what was best for her. The men who are prosecuting Anthony don’t understand what she went through when making this decision. They are self-righteous to judge her.
Anthony’s decision to terminate parenthood was a private one, one she should not have to share with anyone else. Investigators violated her privacy with their prying questions, so she had to lie. Anthony’s partying was a natural response to the relief she felt in escaping the burden of motherhood that society had imposed on her.
The prosecution claims that Anthony committed murder. That is insensitive and ignorant. Caylee Anthony was alive, but that doesn’t mean she was a person. A two-year-old is incapable of taking care of itself. Its thoughts are very simplistic; in all likelihood it doesn’t even understand what death means. To claim this two-year-old’s existence is equal to that of a fully developed person is absurd and overly emotional. No one can prove when personhood begins, therefore we must not use vague philosophical terms to impose our personal beliefs on others.
Casey Anthony is a brave, independent woman. She made the difficult choice that was right for her. As compassionate people, we must respect and defend the choice that she made.
How would Americans react to that defense? I hope they would be far more outraged than they are now. And yet this type of defense has been accepted in America for 38 years. This is the defense for the murder of about 3,700 children every day in our country, or one child every 24 seconds.
Why are we not appalled at abortion?