Foetuses found in Thai temple

Hundreds of remains uncovered in Bangkok, highlighing the problem of illegal abortion in the country.

    The bodies were found in the mortuary storage room of a Buddhist temple in Bangkok [AFP]

    Thai police have uncovered the remains of hundreds of foetuses wrapped in plastic bags inside a Buddhist temple, suspected of coming from illegal abortions.

    "In just one room we have found 950 foetuses and we are now opening the next room," Colonel Sombat Milintajinda, the area commander of Bangkok Metropolitan Police, told the AFP news agency on Friday.

    He said some of the bodies had been stored in the mortuary storage room of the temple in the Thai capital for more than a year.

    Two temple undertakers have admitted stashing foetuses in three different storage units, leading to the new inspection, police said.

    The undertakers told police they were hired separately by a network of abortion clinics.

    So far a 33-year-old woman has been arrested and confessed to carrying out illegal abortions, said a chief investigator said.

    The discoveries have shocked Thailand and highlighted the scale of illegal abortions in a country where the procedure is illegal except in cases where the pregnancy endangers the mother's health or is the result of rape.

    "This reflects a problem in society," Jurin Laksanavisit, the public health minister, said at the scene.

    "I think all the relevant sectors have to work together - government, public and private - to find a solution to this problem."

    The health ministry estimates that of one million pregnancies in Thailand each year, 80,000 are illegally terminated.

    The department has ordered a nationwide crackdown on abortion clinics as a result of the finds.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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