Hospitals Lie to Thousands of Moms About Disposal of Their Fetal Remains​

Empty Hospital HallThe remains of more than 15,000 fetuses have been incinerated as "medical waste," with some being used to heat hospitals. At least two facilities in the UK have copped to burning the aborted and miscarried fetuses as part of what they called a "waste-to-energy" program while others burned them "alongside rubbish."

The mothers were told that the remains had been cremated, which while technically true, denies the real truth of what has happened to the babies they never got to meet.


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After the news of the burning practice broke, British health minister Dr. Dan Poulter called the practice "totally unacceptable," and the Department of Health issued an immediate ban. Britain's Human Tissue Authority is being called upon to make clear what hospitals can and can't do with fetal remains so this never happens again. But that doesn't undo what has already been done to thousands of fetuses or the pain this will cause for their mothers.

We can debate on abortion all day long, but I think the one thing that we can agree upon is that it is never an easy decision. This practice of incinerating fetal remains has to be psychologically damaging to women that have lost a baby due to miscarriage or abortion, who are already grieving. Treating human remains as "medical waste" undermines the pain and emotions mothers feel when they lose a child, whether it was voluntary or not. They deserve better than that.

How do you think hospitals should handle disposal of human remains?

Image via Ralf/Flickr

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