France2 news reported a few days ago that 351 stillborn babies and fetuses were kept at Saint-Vincent-de-Paul Hospital’s morgue — some for 20 years, something The Guardian (UK) claims in its headline may be common. The London Times explains,
The bodies were preserved in formalin in plastic containers in breach of a French law which says they must be cremated within 10 days. Officials said they included three babies who had died in the days following their birth, meaning they should have been given a full burial.
None of the parents of the 351 infants had been informed of their fate, officials said.
. . .
Administrators said negligence and incompetence appeared to lie behind the macabre find at Saint-Vincent-de-Paul.
But two further inquiries launched by the French Government will be asked to determine whether doctors had ordered the storage of the bodies for research purposes.
The inquiries will also study a third theory of alleged organ trafficking at Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, although this was dismissed as unlikely by officials.
There is a certain callousness in some circles, though (emphasis mine),
However, some doctors accused the Health Ministry of over-reacting. They argued that foetuses had always been kept for autopsies and research. “I am very surprised at the fuss surrounding this affair,’ said Guy-Marie Cousin, head of the French Union of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians. “This is certainly not a scoop and the same thing must go on in all France’s 22 university hospitals.”
He said that doctors had the right to carry out research of stillborn babies after the ten-day deadline, a point contested by Health Ministry jurists who said the practice was illegal.
Melanie Phillips wrote last May about The post-human future:
But instrumentalising life in this way, bringing an individual into being solely to benefit other individuals, is utterly inimical to the deepest belief of our civilisation that every human life deserves equal dignity and respect.
. . .
Thus science has junked ethics altogether, and any intrinsic respect for life has vanished. All that matters instead is the brutal utilitarian doctrine which is now our state religion: serving the happiness of the greatest number.
Whatever your views on abortion (which, according to some statistics quoted in France2 news a few months ago, nearly half of all French women have had an abortion), this find, and Dr. Cousin’s attitude, shows the most callous disregard for human dignity, and a total lack of respect for the patient.