UNITED KINGDOM – The remains of thousands of aborted and miscarried babies in the U.K. were incinerated as clinical waste or burned to heat hospitals, according to findings from a recent investigation.
Reporters with Channel 4’s Dispatches television program revealed that numerous hospitals in the U.K. treated aborted and miscarried babies as waste. When the babies’ remains were incinerated, mothers were told that they had been “cremated.”
According to Channel 4, the remains of over 15,500 babies were destroyed as waste in the last two years alone.
At least two major hospitals in the U.K.—Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge and Ipswich Hospital—burned the remains in “waste to energy” plants which generated energy for the hospitals. Nearly 2,000 aborted or miscarried babies were incinerated in these energy plants, according to the report.
After Channel 4 first shed light on the inhumane treatment of the babies’ remains, British health officials condemned the hospitals’ actions. The Department of Health immediately banned the practice, and health minister Dr. Dan Poulter denounced the routines.
“This practice is totally unacceptable,” Dr. Poulter said, according to The Telegraph.
“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,” he added.
Sir Mike Richards, Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said hospitals have fallen short of standards.
“I am disappointed trusts may not be informing or consulting women and their families,” Richards stated. “This breaches our standard on respecting and involving people who use services and I’m keen for Dispatches to share their evidence with us.”
Richards also said officials will further investigate the findings.
“We scrutinize information of concern and can inspect unannounced, if required,” he stated.
Sir Bruce Keogh is medical director of the National Health Service. He admitted that incineration of fetal remains is currently legal in the U.K., but suggested that it is “inappropriate.”
“While it is acknowledged that incineration is not illegal across the UK, existing professional guidance makes clear that the practice is inappropriate,” Keogh said, according to the BBC. “I share the view that incineration of fetal remains is inappropriate practice and that other methods offer more dignity in these sensitive situations.”
As previously reported, America’s leading medical waste company, Stericycle, also incinerates aborted babies at its various incineration plants across the country. Grand Jury documents released by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office in 2011, and obtained by the Campaign to Stop Stericycle, revealed that Stericycle had been disposing of fetal remains for convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell for years. The medical waste giant was also fined over $42,000 in 2011 for unlawfully dumping aborted babies into a landfill in Austin, Texas after an abortion facility that it serviced failed to place “incinerate only” stickers on the boxes.