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Nurses Call for Funerals for the Unborn

LONDON, MAY 23, 2001 ( Women who have a miscarriage or abortion should be able to ask for a funeral for the unborn child, funded by the National Health Service under new guidelines announced Tuesday, The Telegraph reported today.

The advice published by the Royal College of Nursing recommended that all patients should be spared any further grief and be allowed to cremate or bury “fetal material.”

The move follows reports that almost a half-million fetuses — mostly from abortions and miscarriages before the 12-week gestation period — are being incinerated en masse in the United Kingdom every year along with clinical waste.

The nursing college said it was feared that some hospitals were flouting government advice issued almost 10 years ago that disposal of “fetal material” should be “sensitive and respectful,” whatever the circumstances.

Asked whether by offering funerals nurses were equating the status of a fetus with that of a dead child, the members of the working party that drew up the guidelines said their priority was to help grieving parents rather than to make ethical judgments.

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