Legislation calls for dignified treatment of human remains
On October 31, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities sent a letter to Members of Congress supporting S. 2590 and HR 4934, the Dignity for Aborted Children Act. In the letter, Archbishop Naumann cited the recent discovery of careless retention of fetal remains in the state of Illinois by a recently deceased abortion doctor, as well as other instances of shameful and disrespectful disposal of bodies discarded in toilets or cardboard medical waste boxes.
Such actions make “people on both sides of the abortion debate uncomfortable, sad, angry,” he said, and that this is not surprising, given every culture and religious tradition has customs and practices surrounding how to care for and dispose of the dead. “For Catholics, the Church has long taught that ‘the human body shares in the dignity of ‘the image of God’,’ that our bodies are a reminder of the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and of that resurrection, which we too will experience after death, and burying the dead is taught as one of the seven corporal works of mercy.”
“Other faiths and belief systems likewise promote dignified treatment of the deceased and respectful disposal of their remains,” he continued, and health regulations, ethical guidance for medicine and science, trauma and emergency response, and religious and moral belief all point towards the need for a society to respectfully dispose of each human body. He urged Members of Congress to support theDignity for Aborted Children Act, saying, “Whether you support or oppose legalized abortion, I hope you will agree that these human bodies should not be wantonly discarded as medical waste or preserved at the whim of the abortion doctor. Such basic courtesy is in keeping with society’s treatment of all other deceased persons including cadavers, donated organs and tissues, remains that are recovered after traumatic incidents, and so on. As a nation, we can at least come together to ensure all human remains are treated with basic human dignity.”