Infanticide: Who Is To Blame? A Look into Andrea Yates


  • Avani Banerji


In 2001, Andrea Yates systematically killed her five children in one day, raising postpartum psychosis to the forefront of American news cycles. The family pressure and overwhelming household responsibilities that Yates experienced were rooted in pervasive societal expectations surrounding motherhood. The incident represented a failure of the American healthcare and legal systems. Consistent missteps in Andrea’s medical treatment culminated in a deadly episode of psychosis, which, combined withflaws in the criminal proceedings and inconsistent definitions of insanity, led to public outrage. Throughout these events, the media painted Yates as a poster child for postpartum illness, increasing and reaffirming existing stigma. While the media coverage inspired significant discourse, her case did little to create systemic changes. Examining the circumstances influencing the Yates case highlights the concerning factors that allow women and families to keep falling through gaps in the United States’ social support and medical/legal systems.


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