The man in camo just came back to the Old Pleiku Cemetery from his usual rounds and today he picked up a baby. That baby was in the trunk. After he asked if I wanted to see it, I stared at him with eyes wide open. Then on cue, he pulled out a stack of photographs from a pocket near his shins and showed me pictures of aborted fetuses. Now, I've seen pictures of baby embryos before. But I've never seen ones with blood and guts. Each one resembled the color and texture of a jellyfish. Each baby was a murky clear color and features limb features were clearly defined. It was obvious a lot of these babies were aborted pretty close to the third trimester.
Before I knew it, I was whisked away to a makeshift altar in the middle of a patch of tombstones. What resembled a large shack also doubled as the headquarters for this process. This cemetery has buried 15,000 aborted babies. The man in camo has buried 8,000 of them. A priest before him started this private project. Money is donated through local means and there's a recent campaign to raise awareness about ending abortion as a whole. Abortion is not illegal in Vietnam, but started in the beginning of this year, new restrictions and education measures have thwarted the idea. According to the man in camo, Vietnam ranks as the 5th country in terms of highest abortion rates. Annually, as much as 1.5 million babies are aborted in this country.