Vietnam cemeteries for unborn

Catholic volunteers in Vietnam's Hue, Pleiku and Ho Chi Minh City have established cemeteries for aborted fetuses to celebrate the "sacredness of life" by giving the little fetuses a burial.

AsiaNews reports that the Hue cemetery, set up in 1992, now contains the remains of 30,000 fetuses. Similar cemeteries have emerged near many parishes in Pleiku and in Ho Chi Minh city. Vietnam, which is opening up to market globalisation, has seen a large rise in the number of abortions.

"This morning, I already brought 10 babies here," said the Hue cemetery director, who wished to remain anonymous. "Yesterday afternoon, we buried 16. It's sad to see this with our own eyes."

He said all 16 little fetuses had been placed in a green bag.

The cemetery was born from the initiative of a group of volunteers who wanted to celebrate the "sacredness of life" by giving the little fetuses a burial. Every day, volunteers go to collect victims from hospitals, clinics and even from garbage dumps, and then they bury them.

The cemetery is not officially recognised by the government, but authorities keeps a close eye on the practice, well-regarded by Christians, Buddhists and Animists. Even members of the Vietnamese Communist Party have described the cemetery as a "sacred work of love."

Volunteers in Hue carry a notebook with them to list the names given to the victims. So far, one notebook per year has been sufficient but at least three will be needed for 2006, given the growing number of abortions.

According to the AsiaNews report, people occasionally visit the cemetery. A woman, gripped by sorrow, wanders among the graves, incense burner in hand. She confides in a volunteer: "I made a mistake. I had an extramarital relationship. Then I was afraid the child would not have been accepted when it was born, so I resigned myself to having an abortion."

Every so often, messages with the child's name are found, signed by the mother and father.

30,000 aborted babies buried in HuÍ cemetery (AsiaNews 26/6/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Life Office, Archdiocese of Sydney
Abortion in Vietnam: measurements, puzzles, and concerns (Demography Department, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, 1994)

Bishop says abortion figures a "national disgrace" (CathNews 29/4/05)

Vietnam's High Abortion Rate, Lack of Sex Education Among Young People, Agence France-Presse Examines (Medical News Today 10/7/05)

27 Jun 2006