When Angela miscarried her 14-week-old son in April, she and her husband, Kevin, tried to claim the body from the government-run hospital in Hong Kong to give him a proper burial, but the government intervened.
In Hong Kong, abortion is legal up till 24 weeks into pregnancy. Babies under 24 weeks old are considered medical waste, to be disposed of by their Environmental Protection Department, according to a statement from the hospital authority, BBC reported.
Over the past year, 18 couples in Hong Kong have asked hospitals to release their miscarried children. The government has only approved 14 of those requests.
“When the hospital said our son was hospital property, our jaws dropped,” Kevin said.
The hospital tried to work with Kevin and Angela (not their real names), and agreed to release the body, but without the paperwork necessary for a proper burial. The hospital suggested they take their son’s remains to a pet crematorium, which the couple quickly rebuffed.
“I had nowhere to take him,” he said. “If you take a baby that is considered to be clinical waste, you can’t just dispose of it any which way you like.”
After weeks of pleading with bureaucrats, the couple turned to the Catholic Diocese for help.
“The church gave the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department a proposal to set up an ‘Angel Garden’ in Chai Wan cemetery to help those who have lost fetuses,” South China Morning Post reported. “The government approved the plan.”
“I don’t think it should be available only to people of certain religions or certain backgrounds,” Kevin said. “I want to see the government change this policy, or for lawmakers to change the law.”