Aborted Babies Burned to Heat Hospitals: What’s the Big Deal?

Last week the Telegraph reported that the remains of over 15,000 aborted babies have been incinerated as clinical waste over the past two years in the UK, with some of them having having been used in “waste-to-energy” plants that produce power for heat:

One of the country’s leading hospitals, Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge, incinerated 797 babies below 13 weeks gestation at their own ‘waste to energy’ plant. The mothers were told the remains had been ‘cremated.’

In response to the news, the ever outspoken P.Z. Myers wrote the following:

I’m not in the least disturbed by the fact that patients were not consulted on how their dead fetus was disposed. When you go in for an operation, are you concerned about what is done with the bloody towels afterwards, or how your appendix or tonsils or excised cyst are treated? Did you think there was some special room deep in the bowels of the institution where they were reverently interred, attended by a weeping chaplain who said a few kind words over your precious bodily fluids? Nope. They’re sealed up in a bag, dealt with according to appropriate protocols for medical waste, and incinerated.

Get over it.

Myers’ reaction is absolutely the right reaction to have—if the unborn are not human beings.

Pro-life speakers like Scott Klusendorf have been saying for years that the abortion debate comes down to only question:

What is the unborn?

If the unborn are not members of the human family, then having an abortion is the moral equivalent of having a tooth pulled.  And if the unborn are not members of the human family, then P.Z. Myers is right, and we should give him credit for his logical consistency.

But most self-styled “pro-choice” individuals aren’t nearly as candid as Myers.  What’s more, I suspect that most people on the pro-choice side are, to some extent at least, uneasy about incinerating the remains of aborted fetuses to provide heat for hospitals, and would actually recoil at Myers’ words quoted above.

It’s to such pro-choice individuals as these that I would invite to spend some time dwelling on that sense of unease: Do you feel that discomfort because on some level, you know that the human embryo or fetus that a woman carries within her is not the same as an appendix or a tonsil?

Share Tweet Email