Wisconsin Senate approves bill to dissolve dead bodies, dump them in sewer

Alkaline hydrolysis, or ‘water cremation,’ which involves liquifying the human body and dumping the remains into the sewage system, is already approved in 20 states.

MADISON, Wisconsin, May 13, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Wisconsin senators approved a bill earlier this week allowing dead bodies to be dissolved in a chemical bath and disposed like sewage.

The bill, Senate Bill 228, authorizes a practice called alkaline hydrolysis, or “water cremation,” which liquifies the human body using a mixture of water, heat, and chemical agents, leaving only bones behind. The liquid is then dumped into the sewage system or boiled off, and bones can be crushed and deposited in an urn.

The Republican-led Senate passed the legislation without debate on Tuesday over the objection of the Catholic bishops of Wisconsin. 

“Catholic teaching is centered on the life and dignity of the human person because each person is created in the image and likeness of God,” Kim Vercauteren, executive director of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, wrote to the senate health committee. “The heart, mind, flesh, and bones of a human person are all elements of a unique creation, down to the DNA, which must be honored even after death.” 

“Our concern is that with alkaline hydrolysis, remains are washed into a wastewater system as though the body created by God never existed,” Vercauteren added. “Wastewater does not honor the sacredness of the body, nor does it allow the grieving to honor the dead after disposition.”

Sen. Patrick Testin, R-Stevens Point, who sponsored SB 228, argued for the measure as a means to promote “consumer choice.” At a hearing for the bill, he said that “Wisconsin funeral directors are receiving more and more requests for flameless or water cremation.” “I believe in allowing consumers choices. And if a consumer chooses flameless cremation, I would like to empower Wisconsin funeral directors the means to fulfill that choice,” Testin said.

Catholic leaders have sternly rejected that reasoning. “Respect and reverence for human bodies must not be sacrificed for a cheaper, quicker disposition,” the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops said two years ago, after attempts to authorize alkaline hydrolysis were introduced in the Lone Star State. 

“We must treat the remains of all human beings, no matter how long they lived or how they died, with dignity, charity, and respect. Chemical digestion of the human body fails to follow this simple principle,” the bishops said, likening the practice to dumping aborted babies down drains. 

Clergymen across the United States have similarly spoken out against “water cremation” and other “alternative” disposition methods, including in MissouriOhio, and Washington. Around 20 states nevertheless have approved alkaline hydrolysis in recent years. 

According to the Cremation Association of North America (CANA), the practice involves a pressurized vat that typically can hold around 100 gallons of liquid. Deceased people placed in the chamber can be heated at up to 302 degrees and bathed in lye, an industrial chemical agent used as a drain cleaner, to induce rapid decomposition. 

The full process of alkaline hydrolysis takes between three to 16 hours, ultimately producing a “sterile” liquid devoid of tissue and DNA. “In some cases, the water is diverted and used for fertilizer because of the potassium and sodium content,” CANA said. 

Proponents of alkaline hydrolysis claim that it is “greener” than traditional cremation, with fewer carbon emissions, arguments that the Wisconsin Catholic Conference has dismissed as well. “The practice can use anywhere from 100 to 300 gallons of water and can influence pH levels in the water supply,” Vercauteren said. “We question whether a process that alters the chemical composition of large amounts of clean water … is good stewardship.”

The Catholic Church emphasizes burial of bodies but has softened its stance on traditional cremation since the 1960s, permitting cremation “unless this is chosen for reasons which are contrary to Christian teaching.” Human remains must be buried in cemeteries, entombed in a mausoleum, or inurned, and may not be scattered, the Church holds.

COVID-Infected Woman, 76, Believed to Be Dead, Wakes Up And Starts Crying Minutes Before Her Cremation

An undertaker walks by burning pyres for victims who died of Covid-19 at an open-air crematorium in BangalorePhoto: AFP / Manjunath Kiran

In a shocking incident, a COVID-19 infected woman, who was declared dead, woke up minutes before her cremation. 

The 76-year-old woman’s family found her alive when they took her to a crematorium in Baramati, located in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.

The victim, identified as Shakuntala Gaikwad, had tested positive for COVID-19 a few days back and was in home isolation. Later, her symptoms became severe due to her age, News18 reported. Her family took her to a hospital in an ambulance but they were struggling to secure a bed for her. Gaikwad fell unconscious and the ambulance staff declared her dead. The incident took place on May 10 but it was reported Sunday.

The victim’s relatives were informed and she was taken back to her village. Gaikwad woke up when the family members were about to light the funeral pyre. They were shocked as the woman opened her eyes and began crying, Khaleej Times reported.

Gaikwad was immediately rushed to a local hospital for further treatment, local authorities said. The current condition of the woman remains unknown.

The incident takes place as most states in India continue to be under lockdown amid an increasing number of COVID-19 cases. Hospitals across the country have been reporting shortage of oxygen and beds. Early Monday, India recorded more than 280,000 COVID-19 cases.

In a similar incident last month, a 72-year-old woman who was declared dead by doctors was found alive minutes before her cremation. The elderly woman was rushed to a hospital in the state of Chhattisgarh but she died on the way. The woman was admitted to a local hospital with some health issues. Doctors were unable to find her vital signs and declared her dead. The woman had tested negative for COVID-19. At the crematorium, the woman’s granddaughter found that the victim’s body was not cold. She decided to call another doctor to check her vitals. It was later found that the woman was alive.