In Chile, Bernarda Gallardo was horrified after she found out that babies were being buried without funeral ceremonies, without names and in unmarked graves. This came to her attention in 2004 when she read a news headline that said: “They killed and dumped a newborn baby on the rubbish heap.” The newborn girl was reportedly placed in a black rubbish bag and disposed of at local dump. Gallardo named the girl Aurora and decided to try and give her a proper burial.
She said, “If you get a baby that is alive you clothe it and feed it and put it in a cot. If your baby arrives dead you have to get a coffin and give it a decent burial.”
However, this process sounds much easier than it actually is because in Chile, if family doesn’t claim the body, it’s disposed of with other surgical waste.
Thankfully, Gallardo was able to prevent this from happening but was told she had to adopt the baby in order to bury her. According to BBC News, initially the judge overseeing the adoption was hesitant to allow Gallardo to adopt a dead baby but once he realized she was trying to give Aurora a dignified burial, he granted her request.
Unfortunately, statistics show that at least ten dead infants are found abandoned in Chile every year. Gallardo explained why she believes this is happening. She said, “These are young women, often no more than girls who are victims of rape and incest. If it is their father or stepfather who rapes them, they are too frightened to speak out. The rapists are often the ones who are providing for the family.