By Brian Fisher
The Daily Telegraph in London published a sensational story this week about the remains of babies being incinerated as “clinical waste.” Two facilities, the newspaper said, burned the remains along with other “rubbish” to create power to help heat hospitals in the United Kingdom.
During a two-year period, health-care facilities incinerated more than 15,000 aborted, miscarried or stillborn babies, using almost 1,900 of them in “waste to energy” programs that generated power to heat hospitals.
The British Department of Health issued an instant ban on the practice of burning these babies’ remains to heat hospitals, calling it “totally unacceptable.” Various government and health officials scrambled to investigate the practice further and condemn it publicly.
I confess I’m confused and confounded by the British government’s quick condemnation of the practice, given that abortion up to 24 weeks is legal and generally accepted in the U.K. Here’s why:
The worldwide abortion debate centers primarily on the question of human value. Abortion proponents argue that life in the womb is overwhelmingly less valuable than life outside it. Those who seek to protect life at all stages argue that human beings have infinite value because of who we are, not because of other factors such as location, stage of maturity, gender or race.
In order to justify killing another human being, one must devalue that human life to where it is worth virtually nothing. We don’t kill something that has value to us. We don’t kill our toddlers, our neighbors or even our pet dogs. They are valuable. But most of us don’t think twice about killing mosquitoes, flies or other pests. They have far less value to us.
Regarding human life, Western civilization is structured to protect life already born and treats it as tremendously valuable.
If a toddler has a serious illness such as cancer, thousands of dollars, the best medical care, countless hours of work and millions of dollars of research are devoted to keeping the child alive and thriving. In emergency situations, the police, firemen and paramedics go to great lengths to protect us from harm. Strict laws are in place to safeguard us from physical, emotional and financial danger.
The unborn, however, have no such protection or support structure. Unlike born human beings whose value is, on the whole, determined by the fact that we are human, the value of the unborn is based on arbitrary and subjective factors. In America, the value of the unborn is generally determined by whether or not the parents want the child at a moment in time. If the child is unwanted, the value of the child is reduced to nothing and he or she is killed.
Hence my confusion. Presumably, the British government is taking such swift action against the use of dead babies for fuel because it somehow dishonors or demeans the memory of the children. We wouldn’t want our recently deceased elderly parents’ bodies to be used as fuel. It demeans their worth and their memory. Thus the U.K. applies the same logic to the unborn, and it certainly applies to babies that were stillborn or miscarried.
But if the aborted child’s value (as determined by parents or relatives) has been diminished to near worthlessness, why would we then be concerned about honoring the body of the child after death?
There are black-market industries dealing in body parts from fetuses. Embryonic stem cell research uses the unborn for the supposed benefit of the rest of mankind. Why not use the same body parts for our own comfort?
Why would we honor and assign some value to the child after the abortion when we have devalued her enough to kill her in the first place? It makes absolutely no sense.
Life is, of course, infinitely valuable at any stage of maturity. The situation in the U.K. just underscores what we know in our hearts – the unborn are as valuable as the born.
Brian Fisher is the president and co-founder of Online for Life, which uses online and offline marketing and outreach to connect women and families considering abortion with life-affirming centers.