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The Champion

March 2018 , Page 20 

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A New Model Law Offers Hope: Postpartum Disorders and the Law

By Barry Lewis

For most women, the pain of childbirth is rewarded with the delight of parenting an infant. For a significant percentage of young mothers, the pleasure does not arrive. Instead, postpartum depression (PPD) or postpartum psychosis (PPP) is the debilitating accompaniment of what usually is called a bundle of joy. A small number of such mothers under the overwhelming stress of caring for the infant and their postpartum illnesses commit horrible crimes. Many civilized nations specifically account for this illness in their criminal laws, but this is not the case in the United States. No U.S. law made any accommodation for such mothers who faced either a murder sentence or an uphill battle to be found not guilty by reason of insanity. The first law in the United States specifically establishing the mitigating factor of PPP and PPD, Illinois’ Public Act 100-0574, was signed by the governor on Jan. 8, 2018. While the law is limited in its scope (when compared to laws in other coun

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