The story appeared in London’s Telegraph newspaper. It has been discovered that over 15,500 “fetal remains” have been incinerated as clinical waste, some even used to heat hospitals in the Department of Health’s waste to energy plan. A Department spokesman, Dan Poulter, called the discovery, “totally unacceptable.”
For years now abortion advocates have struggled mightily to change the terms of the debate away from the child and onto the mother. We have been told that the debate is all about the mother’s rights. Any discussion of the child has been cleaned of all humanity references. The baby has been reduced first to fetus, and then to fetal tissue, even in debates on the floor of the United States Senate. We have been asked to view the miracle of the womb as no more than a medical condition over which only one person has any jurisdiction. So, once again I ask, why is the incineration of 15,000 aborted or miscarried babies in England, “totally unacceptable?”
Every week in every hospital around the world, clinical waste is produced. Everything from removed tumors, to amputated arms and legs, has to be disposed of somehow. I have always assumed that hospitals use some sort of incinerating device for this purpose. What makes fetal tissue so special?
I was born in 1958, the last of the four children of Emmett and Betty Dunnevant. When my mother announced to her friends that she was pregnant with me, many of them were incredulous. Mom and Dad were in a rough spot financially back then, having a difficult enough time feeding three kids. One particular lady told Mom that I made no “economic sense.” Sometimes when I discuss monetary policy, some of you think I still make no economic sense!
Lucky for me, in 1958 people didn’t view a gestating child with such clinically neutral ambivalence. There was less moral ambiguity about my value. While I might have been an unplanned accident, my parents thought of me as a divine gift. Fifty-five years later, when confronted with a story like this one in the Telegraph, pro-choice advocates are forced to explain why the incineration of 15,500 aborted and miscarried babies is such a bad thing.
Why, Mr. Poulter is this so “totally unacceptable?” I’ll tell you why. Because despite the sanitized, dehumanized arguments, despite all the talk of rights and reproductive justice, we all know in our hearts that every life is a gift, and that unborn child contains a spark of the divine. When we discover that they have been thrown in a “waste to energy” incinerator along with cancerous colons and gangrenous legs…it shames us. Still, it shames us.