…In most jurisdictions, the victims of abortion are denied the dignity of a humane burial or cremation. Once those children’s bodies have been reassembled in bloody pieces on an examining table—for the macabre purpose of ensuring that the abortionist has left no part of the dead child in her mother—that child’s body is unceremoniously sealed up and callously labeled as medical waste. This treatment is itself a tragedy that reflects the dehumanizing logic of abortion culture. Yet it also raises urgent moral questions: What happens to that “medical waste”? And how do we know, precisely, whether the medical waste in our community includes the bodies of the human victims of abortion?

In 2014, an NBC News headline asked, “Why Are Aborted Fetuses Burned?” The report states that “aborted fetuses were routinely burned at an incinerator in Oregon that used medical waste to generate electricity.” The local county commissioner vowed to “get to the bottom of it” to ascertain “who knew, when they knew, [and] how long they had known this was going on.” Whether this commissioner ever found the answers she was looking for remains a mystery; the national press apparently lost interest in the story.

The same NBC report noted that in the United Kingdom, “aborted fetuses had been incinerated, along with other waste, to heat hospitals,” and that similar practices are “acceptable by many government agencies worldwide . . . even mandated in dozens of state health codes as a way of managing potentially hazardous and infectious medical waste.”

Though more than 800,000 abortions were performed in America in the past year alone, abortion businesses are among America’s most deadly and least regulated. A recent UC Davis Law Review article titled “The Forced Choice of Dignified Disposal” stated the reason abortion businesses treat human bodies as medical waste: It costs more to properly inter them. “Interment and cremation are considerably more expensive procedures than contracting with third party waste disposal companies to dispense with fetal matter.” The article notes that some states have adopted elastic definitions of medical waste, such as “any solid waste which is generated in the diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of human beings or animals.” Ultimately, “[n]o uniform definition exists as to what constitutes medical waste….”

The above comes from a July 18 story in First Things.