READING, Pa. - A woman who conceived several children through an affair with a man unaware of her pregnancies was charged Monday with homicide after tests on remains found in coolers or encased in concrete showed at least four infants were born alive but killed, authorities said.
Michele Kalina, 44, of Reading, kept the remains in her closet until her husband and daughter found them in July, authorities said Monday.
Kalina, a nurse's aide, also bore a daughter from the same affair in 2003 but gave the baby up for adoption, authorities said. She and her husband have a teenage daughter and had a 13-year-old son who died in 2000 after a long illness.
The husband and daughter found five sets of infant remains in a closet this summer in coolers, one of which was filled with cured cement, police said. At least four of the babies were born at or near term, then killed in a manner consistent with asphyxia, poisoning or neglect, authorities determined.
Kalina will be held without bail pending a preliminary hearing scheduled for Thursday. She has been in custody since August on abuse-of-corpse charges. Her public defender, Holly Feeney, declined to comment Monday after Kalina was arraigned on criminal homicide, aggravated assault and other charges.
Kalina denied that she had had any other children or pregnancies until confronted with the adoption paperwork, police said.
This is, of course, a sad and disturbing story--but one of the things I always wonder about when I read news stories detailing infanticide is this: would it really be any different if the mother had simply aborted the children legally before birth?
To me, infanticide is a logical extension of the abortion mentality--something that bioethicist Peter Singer has admitted. If you don't think that a fetus at six or seven months' gestation is a person, then there's really very little logical reason to call a neonate, particularly a premature one, a person. Not much changes for a full-term fetus at birth; she begins to breathe air and can hypothetically receive sustenance other than her mother's milk, where before her oxygen and food came via her connection to her mother via the umbilical cord--but she doesn't suddenly and magically sprout limbs, facial features, or brainwaves--those were all present in the womb. If you can legally kill her thirty days (and more) prior to birth, then why shouldn't you be able legally to kill her thirty days afterward, as Singer proposes? In fact, given that you can kill a human being at any time during her nine months' gestation, wouldn't it really be logical to allow for post-birth abortions for nine months after birth, especially since some physical or mental handicaps or abnormalities aren't diagnosed immediately and may not present until a child is three or six months old or later?
As someone who thinks that all human life is intrinsically valuable, I, of course, reject infanticide as immoral. But how do those who support abortion reject it? Isn't Singer's view, that some degree of infanticide ought to be permissible, more in line with the morality of those who favor legal abortion?
And under that idea--shouldn't someone like Kalina just demonstrate the need to make infanticide safe and legal?