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Fetuses Left Unburied Prompt Song by Pat Boone

May 14, 1985|ALLAN JALON | Times Staff Writer

The continuing controversy over the discovery three years ago of more than 16,000 aborted fetuses at the Woodland Hills home of a former medical laboratory operator has inspired a song by Pat Boone.

The pop singer announced Monday that he has recorded the song, called "Sixteen Thousand Faces," to protest the abortions and the failure of courts to allow a mass burial for the fetuses.

"Sixteen thousand mothers disappeared without a trace; 16,000 children stayed--each one has a face," the song says.

The words are sung to a tune carried along by low notes on a synthesizer, with a quick, bouncing rhythm.

Song to Debut Sunday

Boone said the song will receive its first public exposure Sunday at a memorial service for the fetuses, organized by anti-abortion groups, at a cemetery in Monrovia, in the northern San Gabriel Valley.

Boone, an active supporter of religious and conservative political causes, has a singing engagement Sunday and will not be at the service. A cassette of the privately recorded song will be played instead, according to a spokesman for the performer.

Anti-abortion activists and religious groups have conducted a campaign, which has included an unsuccessful appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, to get a formal burial for the fetuses. The fetuses are being stored by the Los Angeles County coroner's office and the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, according to Bill Gold, a spokesman for the coroner's office.

Susie Carpenter McMillan, a spokeswoman for Feminists for Life, an anti-abortion group that helped organize the memorial service, described the event as "a peaceful, dignified interfaith tribute" and emphasized that it "will not be a protest or demonstration."

Granite Tombstone

She said the event's organizers had purchased a plot at Live Oak Memorial Park and will lay a granite tombstone inscribed with the words, "For all those deprived of life and human love through abortion."

But Lauren Virshup, southern director of the California Abortion Rights Action League, decried Boone's song and the memorial service, saying their purpose was to "humanize fetuses when they deny the humanity of women already born."

The fetuses were found in February, 1982, in a shipping container confiscated from the home of Malvin Weisberg, who had operated a medical laboratory in Santa Monica. In March, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a ruling that prevented Los Angeles County from authorizing mass burial and services for the fetuses.

Boone's three-minute, 50-second song repeatedly mentions physical features of the fetuses, and speaks of parents abandoning them.

The first verse says:

16,000 faces--32,000 eyes

64,000 arms and legs

At least a million cries

16,000 fathers--running from a rusty grave

16,000 mamas--hidin' from the

Child she didn't save."

Charlie Shaw, who handles marketing for the singer's Boone Productions, said mass production of the song is planned but a final version has not been completed.

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