This news report out of the UK has shocked and saddened many, and sparked outrage among pro-life groups.
An investigation in the UK has revealed that more than 15,000 aborted foetuses or miscarried babies were incinerated – and their remains used to heat UK hospitals – over the past two years.
That’s a shocking statement to read, and likely even those among us who are staunchly pro-choice will have some sort of emotional response to it.
The aborted foetuses and miscarried babies were incinerated as ‘clinical waste’ (which is not an uncommon practice here in Australia), but the element of the story that has generated so much controversy is that the bodies were used in ‘waste-to-energy programs’ that generated energy to heat hospitals.
An investigation by the UK’s Channel 4 Dispatches found that two hospitals admitted to using this ‘clinical waste’ to generate heat; while 10 other hospitals burned the remains with other general rubbish from the hospital.
The reporter who undertook the investigation, Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden, told the UK’s Mirror, “It’s disgraceful to think babies were thrown into the burner alongside waste such as bandages and syringes.”
Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter called the practice “totally unacceptable”, and called for an immediate ban.
The Channel 4 program also alleges that parents who lost their child in early pregnancy, were often not consulted about what they wanted to happen to the remains.
At one hospital – Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge – parents who had lost a child and the remains incinerated for energy, were told that their child had been cremated.
A spokesperson for the Cambridge University Hospitals told UK’s The Telegraph, “The parents are given exactly the same choice on the disposal of foetal remains as for a stillborn child and their personal wishes are respected.”
The spokesman said that health professionals at the hospital discussed options with the parents in writing and verbally.
Dr Poulter said, “While the vast majority of hospitals are acting in the appropriate way, that must be the case for all hospitals and the Human Tissue Authority has now been asked to ensure that it acts on this issue without delay.”
The Care Quality Commission in the UK said it would investigate the Channel 4 findings.
Reporter Amanda Holden, speaking to the UK’s Mirror, said, “I hope mothers and fathers will be comforted by the knowledge this won’t go on any more… We might have kicked over a hornet’s nest in some respects. I just hope women going through this will be comforted by the positive outcome.”