Police in the south Urals region of Russia are investigating the discovery of the remains of 248 pre-born babies in a forest near Nevyansk, a town on the slopes of the Ural Mountains. LifeSiteNews.com reported that four 50-liter plastic barrels containing the remains appeared to have been thrown from a vehicle not far from a road leading to the town, causing the gruesome contents to be strewn across the ground.
“Many of the fetal remains had labels attached to tiny hands or feet with names and numbers, which authorities suspect may refer to the names of the children’s mothers, and the date of their abortion or the hospital where the abortion was committed,” reported LifeSite. The dates on the labels indicated that some of the babies had been killed over ten years ago.
While the remains were thought to be of babies between 12 and 16 weeks of gestation, forensic examination revealed that most of the babies had been aborted at between 22 and 26 weeks, which would indicate criminal activity, the police said. Russian law allows women to abort their babies at up to the 12th week of pregnancy, and afterward only if the doctor claims that the mother’s life is in danger.
According to Russia Today, Elena Mizulina of Russia’s State Duma Committee on Issues of Family, Women, and Children, said she believed the discovery is evidence of a case of mass illegal abortions, which she said is an epidemic problem in the country. “Such abortions are illegal because they are performed at stages when it’s dangerous for the mother, and is the murder of a rather developed embryo,” Mizulina explained. “What were found in those containers are … killed unborn human beings.”
While investigators were looking into the possibility that the babies had been illegally dumped by a company contracted to dispose of “biological waste,” Lydia Lukutova of the Moscow Regional Research Institute of Gynecology and Obstetrics, said that such a scenario was unlikely. “This case is simply impossible in normal gynecological clinics,” she said, explaining that the remains of all aborted babies “must be disposed of immediately. I wouldn’t rule out some sort of criminal activity.” She added that “fetal remains” are labeled Class B biological waste in Russia and are required to be incinerated.
Another expert, gynecologist Yuliana Abaeva, suggested that the remains may have been intended for the manufacture of vaccines or cosmetics “It could be unused abortive material for vaccines or fetal therapy, which is a cell therapy, extremely popular in cosmetology,” she told the Russian News Service.
Mizulina agreed, saying that the demand for “fetal material by the cosmetics and pharmacological industries is great. “This is probably an attempt to cover up a criminal activity,” she said of the discovery. “Whoever did this might have been expecting a visit from medical or law enforcement inspectors and wanted to get rid of incriminating evidence.”
She predicted that “soon we will find out who has dropped the fetuses and all the guilty will be punished.”
The Associated Press reported that Russia’s Health Ministry had ordered the investigation of local hospitals in an attempt prevent the recurrence of such incidents. “The rude violation of medical ethics causes indignation,” AP quoted the ministry as saying. “It’s inadmissible from both the moral and legal viewpoint.”
Additionally, reported AP, “the Russian Orthodox Church used the incident to emphasize its opposition against abortions. Spokesman Vladimir Legoida said in a statement that it ‘highlighted the degradation of our society.’”