British hospitals have incinerated more than 15,500 aborted and miscarried fetal remains over the years, at times to generate power for heat in "waste-to-energy" plants, the Telegraph reports. A UK television show revealed the practice tonight, but health officials beat them to the punch by banning the practice yesterday. In all, ten hospitals have admitted to incinerating fetal remains with other garbage, while two leading hospitals—Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge and Ipswich Hospital—said they burned about 1,900 of them at energy facilities.
Until now, British law has required hospital staff to offer women who have a miscarriage or abortion three options: incineration, cremation, or burial, the BBC reports. But forms given to women mention "cremated" and make no mention of "incineration" with the daily trash, reports the Daily Mail. At times, hospital staff actually told the real story: "I was hysterical. I was crying," said a 35-year-old woman who learned at a 13-week scan that her baby had died at 8 weeks. "I asked one of the nurses what would happen to my baby, and she just said, 'Well, it will be incinerated with the rest of the day's waste.'" (Read more babies stories.)