Today I mourn the lives of children taken far too soon, both Cassidy Goodson and her son. This whole ordeal is utterly sickening on so many levels, but what truly breaks my heart is this young woman’s future. So many questions are going unanswered and so much is at stake.
I simply cannot wrap my mind around the idea of adult and juvenile charges. There are crimes for which a person can be arrested and there are people who commit those crimes, some are adults and some are children. How does our society determine what constitutes an adult crime? Heinous or not, she is still a child. This is a 14-year-old girl who is not fully matured dealing with adult situations far beyond her understanding without adult guidance. Her parents neglect in this situation appears to be going unnoticed.
In no way do I condone killing children to avoid responsibility, but at 14 her goal was not murder, so much as it was an attempt to cover up the situation. It reminds me of when I was a kid and I would break something which I would then hide to avoid getting in trouble.
What really irks me is how could a mother not know her 5’3 100 lbs 14-year-old was pregnant, even after multiple pregnancy tests. At 14, this young girl couldn’t drive herself to get feminine products, so the mother must have noticed that she was not asking for them. Baggy clothes or not, it’s hard to carry a baby to full-term without your friends, family or teachers noticing.
Furthermore, why was this 14-year-old girl pregnant to begin with? Was she having unprotected sex on her own free will or was she raped? Then comes the birth, which must have been extremely painful and agonizing alone in the bathroom no matter your age. It must have taken several hours, during which time the mother was alleged to be home. How did this mother not notice her child was in the bathroom an extended period of time with the water running?
Talking about safe havens for pregnant teens is completely beside the point. Here you have a completely terrified 14-year-old with a baby, sitting in her bathroom trying to solve the problem on her own. She has no means of transportation and likely no knowledge of these types of facilities. Her actions were that of a scared, immature teenager who has no understanding of the consequences of her actions. To say she does is to say that a 14-year-old thinks and reasons like an adult. I am not saying that Cassidy Goodson does not understand that murder is illegal, or that the end of life means death, what I am saying is that she did not fully comprehend the scope of her actions.
A National Institutes of Health study proposes that the part of the brain that restrains risky behavior, including reckless driving, and thinking skills is not fully developed until the age of 25. Yet still the young girl will be charged as an adult. Luckily her age prevents her from getting the death penalty, but it does not prevent her from getting life in prison. If she were tried as a juvenile, the toughest sentence she could get would keep her locked up until she turned 22.
Apparently the State Attorney Jerry Hill justified his decision to try Cassidy as an adult, saying that the facts demand first-degree murder charges. The facts demand a closer look. The facts are that this young girl should have never been pregnant to begin with, she shouldn’t have had to endure labor on the floor of her bathroom alone and she shouldn’t be locked in a prison for the rest of her life for a decision made as a child. Despite the criticism I may receive from these beliefs, I stand by them. I am disgusted and outraged. I am disgusted that two lives had to be lost, that teenagers aren’t given access to the birth control they need to prevent this from happening, and that they don’t feel safe telling someone at their school or at home what is going on.
I truly hope that in the future Infant safe haven laws are better equipped to handle teens who don’t have the transportation or means necessary to access these programs. Absteinence-only programs and schools and denying students access to birth control is not the answer. We cannot turn a blind eye to these problems and act as if they aren’t happening. It’s truly unfortunate that Cassidy Goodson may have to become the poster child for a better future for pregnant teen girls.