A Regular Find: Fetuses in Church Bathrooms

When you find three fetuses in a church’s women’s bathroom, as happened yesterday in the Philippines, it might be worth wondering whether the remains were left by a regular female churchgoer who could enter and exit the place without drawing suspicion. But that’s not really how this news story is presented:

Three fetuses were found inside the toilet of a church in Novaliches, Quezon City, Saturday morning.

Flora Duran, a maintenance worker, was cleaning the women’s room at the Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy on Quirino Highway around 8 a.m. when she discovered the fetuses stuffed in a green shopping bag.

Novaliches police station investigators said the discovery raised the possibility that an abortionist was operating just within the community.


I see. “An abortionist” who is “operating just within the community.” Very delicate language there, rich with the politics of distancing and prevaricating.

But fetuses show up in church bathrooms in the Philippines more often than you might think. So often, in fact, that Manila’s archbishop wrote a pastoral letter about it a few years ago.

Alarmed over the number of fetuses left in churches and other public places, Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales Thursday issued a pastoral letter to remind Catholics about the “evils of abortion.”

On Tuesday night, two fetuses were found in Manila’s most prominent Catholic churches — the Manila Cathedral and Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo.

The first, believed to be that of a six to seven month-old boy, was discovered by a churchgoer at Manila Cathedral in Intramuros at around 5 p.m. … At about 6:45 p.m., another fetus was found inside a box in Quiapo Church by a Black Nazarene devotee who thought it contained a bomb.

More Filipino church-fetus cases here and here and here.

[cartoon via sodahead]