In (let's hope) today's creepiest news story, over two thousand aborted fetuses have been found at a Thai temple, where they were apparently awaiting cremation. And it gets weirder.
According to the AP, police apparently became suspicious when they noticed a "strong smell" (sorry everyone) coming from the Bangkok temple. When they investigated, they found "piles of plastic bags containing more than 300 fetuses" (emphasis mine). In the morgue beneath the temple, they discovered thousands more, bringing the total to 2,002. Some facts, if you're still reading:
— Abortion is illegal in Thailand except in the case of rape, threat to the mother's health, or fetal abnormality. The fetuses likely came from illegal abortions. Given this, it's possible that it was difficult to find a facility that would cremate them without alerting the authorities. However...
— Investigator Col. Sombat Milintachinda tells CNN, "From our interrogation of the morticians, they admitted that they have been receiving fetuses for about four years, and they told us that they kept the fetuses until they dried up, so it is easy to burn them." So the folks at the temple were just waiting for the right time to cremate the fetuses? That still doesn't explain why they were letting some of them lie around decomposing in plastic bags, though.
Two undertakers have been charged with hiding bodies, and could face a year in jail each. An abortion clinic employee has apparently confessed to bringing some of the fetuses to the temple — she could get up to five years in jail for performing abortions. Thailand's abortion laws show no sign of liberalizing — and Buddhist activists are one of the strongest anti-choice forces in the country, which makes it especially strange that the fetuses were found at a Buddhist temple. The director of Thailand's National Institute for Child and Family Development has called for better sex ed, telling the AP, "On the one hand, you see many campaigns trying to promote safer sex, but on the other, a lot of people still strongly encourage abstinence and retain a stigma against premarital sex." It would be wonderful if contraception, education, and safe abortion were available everywhere, but Thai clinic employees aren't really helping their cause by stockpiling aborted fetuses. It's possible that more liberal abortion laws would have prevented this bizarre crime, but from the information at hand, it's pretty hard to sympathize with the stockpilers. In keeping with the weirdness of the whole story, here is an incredibly strange, wordless CNN video that includes a dog barking, a guy welding, and (warning) what looks like a fetal bone. Maybe the case rendered CNN reporters speechless?