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.

More from The Stir: 8 Questions Pregnant Women Should Ask on Their Hospital Tour

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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nonmember avatar ago

They do that in the US too. I had a miscarriage at 8 weeks with a d&c (after waiting more than a week and another ultrasound to See what would my body would do) . They took my "products of conception" and tested it and incinerated everything. I was upset about it. I asked for the remains but was told I couldn't have them. The Dr was compassionate and allowed me to bring a box and letter and called me the morning they released the remains to be incinerated so I would know (at my request).

nonmember avatar ago

I just read an article about that on a different site. I guess the UK was using it as a heat source in their hospital. That's pretty awful:(

nonmember avatar blue

I'm not concerned with the mothers (although, I can see it from their side.) I am concerned with the babies who deserve to be treated like more than trash. With that said, I don't think a person who aborts, because the baby is unwanted has any say. You aren't "losing" a child, you are choosing to end their course in life.

Shannon Elysabeth Mundorff

For the women who miscarried that is horrible, but for the women who aborted, why do they care what happened to the "Parasitic clump of cells" they were so eager to have scraped out of their bodies?

Rando... Randomlady

Sheesh, I take it you ladies aren't too "pro-choice" around here.

Rachel Megalos

When I lost my daughter at 23 weeks I was given a choice - to choose the hospital cremation - I was told her remains would be buried in a mass grave but would never know the whereabouts - or to have her cremated through a funeral parlour, purchase an urn and keep her with me.   I think everyone can guess what choice I took.  There was a funeral home that the hospital recommended where all they charged you were the cremation fee and cost of whatever urn you picked out (cheapest option $50... most expensive $175).  We also had an autopsy done because we wanted some sort of closure on what happened - nothing ever turned up.... 

Frost... FrostyMelted

How bizarre and gruesome. Totally unacceptable. 

nonmember avatar Blue

While I would not get an abortion, I actually do support a woman's right to choose. With that said, abortion is willfully choosing to end the course of life. They are not losing a baby, the are ending one. That is literally what abortion is.

nonmember avatar Disgusted

Totally with Blue and Shannon. Absolutely unacceptable no matter what, as those were all innocent children. Even worse for the mothers who went through a traumatic miscarriage or stillbirth only to find out their babies were burned with the trash.

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