South Africa – Constitutional Court hearing on fetal burial after miscarriage

NOVEMBER 12, 2021
International Campaign for Safe Abortion

A proposal by representatives of two anti-abortion groups and the Catholic Church has made its way up the court system in South Africa to the Constitutional Court and had it first hearing on 4 November 2021 by eight justices in an initial a four-hour hearing. 

The issue was whether, after a miscarriage at any point less than 26 weeks of pregnancy, the “parents of an unborn child” should have the right, though not the obligation, to bury the fetal remains, including informally (e.g. in their own garden). As it stands, the law itself does not appear to prohibit this, but in line with BADRA, the official regulations for data collection on births and deaths, it is not allowed. After all such miscarriages, the fetal remains must be incinerated in the hospital.


South Africa – Mothers who abort never really request to bury the foetus, says abortion advocacy group

By Goitsemang Tlhabye
Apr 10, 2021

Gauteng - While the parents of babies miscarried at under 26 weeks can finally bury their foetus if they so wish, whether or not mothers who terminate pregnancy should be given the same allowance remains a heated debate.

A mother who requested to remain anonymous said she opted to have an abortion at six weeks and didn’t want to have the option of burying the foetus as a funeral would result in a lot of questions from friends and family regarding her choice to abort.


Italy’s ‘fetus graves’ renew abortion debate

Discovery of burials women did not authorise highlights issues of stigma, Catholic groups’ influence and medical community’s failure.

By Virginia Pietromarchi
16 Oct 2020

Rome, Italy – The words on the crucifix read Francesca Rossi*. Yet Francesca Rossi was standing right in front of it, alive.

Many other wooden crosses bearing only a female name and a date were also stuck in the ground nearby, some dating back as far as 2004.


Women in Italy shocked to find their names on grave markers for aborted fetuses

Rome prosecutor's office investigating after women say they did not consent to burial of fetuses

Megan Williams · CBC News
Posted: Oct 08, 2020

When Francesca joined a group of friends on a fact-finding visit to a cemetery in Rome last week, she was not prepared to find a small, white cross with her name on it.

The friends had learned through Facebook that a woman from Rome who had an abortion had later discovered her name on a similar cross in the sprawling Prima Porta Cemetery in the Flaminio district on the northern outskirts of the capital city.


Ireland – Abortion opponents to fight for burials in bill on terminations

Abortion opponents to fight for burials in bill on terminations

Ellen Coyne, Senior Ireland Reporter
October 3 2018

Anti-abortion campaigners are lobbying to make it mandatory for a burial to be held after a pregnancy is terminated.

Activists have been urged to “visit” TDs and put pressure on them to make abortion law as restrictive as possible, making it mandatory for women to be told about adoption and parenting, and to be offered an ultrasound scan before they can access a termination.


USA: Catholic Hospital Pressured Women to Bury Their Fetuses—Then Pence Made It Law

Catholic Hospital Pressured Women to Bury Their Fetuses—Then Pence Made It Law

Nov 2, 2017
Amy Littlefield

While many find comfort in fetal burial programs, imposing these practices on everyone who loses or ends a pregnancy can cause profound shame and distress, a Rewire investigation found.

Texas has seen some of the nation’s most regressive abortion restrictions in recent years. This series chronicles the fall-out of those laws, and the litigation that has followed.

Tethered to an IV, naked under her hospital gown, Kate Marshall felt trapped as the chaplain approached her bed. It was 2015, and Marshall was awaiting surgery at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Indiana after losing a much-wanted pregnancy. She had not asked to speak with a chaplain, but the man had nonetheless entered her room and then pressed her to sign a consent form that would allow the Catholic hospital to bury her 11-week fetus in a cemetery plot.

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