THIS WEEK IN 1987: Request to move abortion cremations

A little fuzzy perhaps but here we see Portsdown Hill Road where it meets London Road. The George pub would be on the right behind the soldiers. 'Picture: Barry Cox Collection

NOSTALGIA: PoWs forced to cut height of Portsdown Hill

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Aborted foetuses from St Mary’s Hospital, Portsmouth, could not be disposed of at Portchester Crematorium, its governing group decided.

Councillors representing Portsmouth, Havant, Gosport and Fareham said if the request was granted crematorium stuff could be subjected to demonstrations by pro and anti-abortion pressure groups.

The hospital’s management team wanted to send the foetuses boxed in batches of up to eight for cremation at Portchester.

At the time, foetal remains from either spontaneous abortions or from legal abortions carried out by doctors were incinerated in the hospital furnace.

Since 1985, parents of stillborn babies had the option of the infant’s cremation at Portchester as an alternative to its burial at Milton Ceremony.

Cremation superintendent and registrar Chris Johns said: ‘The hospital management view is that the service could provide comfort to families concerned.

‘It is not a clear-cut legal issue as it involves ethical matters about which there is no common agreement,’ he added.