But then as now, the idea of instant postmortem profits did create the incentive to, well, murder people. The difference is that a person today who tries to take out six different life insurance policies on a family member will soon be dealing with, like, all the police. Back in the 1800s, however, poor and desperate parents could profit from the death of a child with almost no questions asked: The industry was too unregulated for anyone to get suspicious, and anyway, infants just dropped dead all the time back then. So one child at the time was found to be enrolled in no fewer than 19 burial clubs, and if babies were a bit smarter, it probably would have packed up all its stuff using its adorable baby hands and run far away.
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"We never ask Frank about his past, but we have our suspicions. He's got that thousand-yard stare."
Technically, the punishment for infanticide was the death penalty, but as it was almost impossible to distinguish between child-murderers and grieving parents who were still haunted by recurring hat-related nightmares, actual guilty verdicts were rare. So, assuming that these people left at least some of their children alive, some of the people reading this probably had great-great-grandparents who murdered their children for cash and got away with it. Be sure to bring that up at your next family seance.
C. Coville has a terrible Twitter here and a just-as-terrible Tumblr here.
Premature babies used to be sideshow attractions, but things still aren't exactly easy for them. See why in We Can Let Babies Die: 6 Realities Of Neonatal Nursing. And learn why your baby is imbued with the moral compass of God in 5 Amazing Things You Didn't Know Babies Could Do.
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