An Iowa woman will not face jail time for attempting to flush her newborn baby down a toilet.
Ashley Hautzenrader, 22, was initially charged with attempted murder but the charges were dropped in August as part of a plea deal, reports the Iowa City Press-Citizen.
As a result of the plea, she was sentenced on Sept. 1 to five years of probation.
The incident that led to the initial charges occurred in May 2016, in a bathroom at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.
Hautzenrader said she was at the hospital because her other child had been admitted to the intensive care unit.
Several Facebook photos show her cuddling that child, who is seen with a breathing tube attached to her nose and a tracheotomy.
According to University of Iowa police, Hautzenrader tried to flush her newborn down the toilet, claiming she thought it was stillborn. When the attempt at flushing was unsuccessful, she put the baby in a pillowcase and left it a trash can.
Soon thereafter, the baby was found alive by a hospital employee.
Hautzenrader admitted attempting to dispose of her baby, claiming it was stillborn. She did not realize she was pregnant until she went into labor, she insisted. "I'm just asking you to listen and try to understand what I've been through," she told the court.
A psychiatrist diagnosed her as having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and pregnancy denial after her first child's serious illness.
In sentencing Hautzenrader to probation instead of prison, Judge Marsha Bergen said she took into consideration her lack of previous convictions, her age, and her pledge to seek treatment for PTSD.
The identity of the child's father has not been disclosed.
Infanticide -- the killing of a child within a year of birth -- has been common throughout history, with poverty being the most common reason for disposing of unwanted children.
An astonishing “10-15% of all children ever been born have been killed by their parents," according to Larry S. Milner, author of "Hardness of Heart/Hardness of Life: The Stain of Human Infanticide," the only book-length study of the subject.
“Statistically, the United States ranks high on the list of countries whose inhabitants kill their children," Milner writes. "For infants under the age of one year, the American homicide rate is 11th in the world.”
“Most of the murders today are committed with the use of the mother's hands, either by strangulation or physical punishment," he adds.