British hospitals used the bodies of aborted and miscarried babies to heat their buildings, the United Kingdom's Channel 4 has shockingly revealed.
A Channel 4 show airing on Monday night reveals that the bodies of thousands of preborn babies were included as clinical waste in 10 National Health Service (NHS) trusts and subsequently incinerated. Two others admitted to burning the human remains as part of their "waste-to-energy" plants.
Health Minister and Conservative Member of Parliament, Dr. Dan Poulter, decried the practice as "totally unacceptable."
"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," Poulter said in The Telegraph.
In response to the Channel 4 report, the U.K. Department of Health banned the practice on Sunday.
Twenty-seven NHS trusts incinerated at least 15,500 fetal remains over the past two years and parents were often not consulted about the hospital's intentions for the baby remains, the Channel 4 report also claims.
In at least one hospital, Addenbrooke's in Cambridge, administrators informed nearly 800 mothers that the remains of their miscarried or aborted babies had been cremated.
While Ipswich Hospital cremates the remains of miscarried and aborted babies, it reportedly still incinerated 1,101 fetal remains over the past two years, because it burns the waste from other hospitals that had not maintained a similiar policy.
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust denied that it had done anything with fetal remains that had not been previously discussed with parents "both verbally and in writing."
"The parents are given exactly the same choice on the disposal of fetal remains as for a stillborn child and their personal wishes are respected," it said.
Drew Belsky, a spokesperson for the pro-life activist group Live Action, called the news "horrifying."
"There's really not that much more to say about this than 'Soylent Green is people.' We're finding ourselves in a society, whether [people] are alive or dead are being used as resource for the benefit of others. This completely flies in the face of how we're supposed to treat people," Belsky told The Christian Post. "There is an inherent dignity to every human being that we are finding just completely trampled in many cases, but especially in the cases of our weakest brothers and sisters who are the pre-born children. Whether they are miscarried or aborted — they are people and we have to treat them that way."
Belsky added that a recent conversation with a libertarian on Twitter underscored to him the need for society to take human life more seriously.
"He gave me the argument that 'How can these embryos be people? It's not like you're giving them funerals or anything,'" Belsky relayed. "It occurs to me that it's a truly warped sense of morality when you are determining who is and isn't a human being based on who gets funerals. When stories like this come out, when aborted babies get incinerated to provide heat for other people, it starts to look like a really depraved sort of ideology on the meaning of human dignity is taking root and we really have to work hard, every single one of us, to make sure that stops happening."