Washington D.C., Apr 8, 2022 / 16:12 pm (CNA).
Nearly 70 lawmakers on Friday called on the Justice Department and the FBI to investigate whether a local abortionist violated federal law after the discovery of five aborted babies in Washington, D.C.
“We demand that you conduct a comprehensive investigation on the circumstances surrounding the deaths of each preborn baby,” the April 8 letter addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland read.
The lawmakers, led by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rep. Chris Smith (R-New Jersey), questioned whether D.C. police could conclude that each baby died as a result of legal abortion without an autopsy.
“We formally request that you direct the appropriate personnel at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to investigate whether these preborn babies were aborted in violation of federal law, specifically the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003,” they wrote. “We also request the Department of Justice ensure the preservation of each of these bodies as evidence for future investigations.”
They requested a response by April 11.
Where are the babies’ bodies now?
The five babies, who appear to be of late-term gestation, were located by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) on March 30 from a D.C. apartment where they were being kept by anti-abortion activists Lauren Handy and Terrisa Bukovinac of Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU). PAAU says it arranged for the D.C. police’s homicide unit to collect and examine the babies, fearing that the babies’ injuries could be evidence of illegal abortions.
The MPD previously said that the babies’ bodies were collected by the D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, where pro-life groups believe they are still located.
PAAU and other pro-life groups gathered outside the D.C. medical examiner’s office April 8 to demand action.
“These babies, their bodies are here at the medical examiner right now,” Bukovinac said to the crowd. “And the D.C. police and the mayor have basically refused to do anything about this, to investigate these deaths.”
The MPD released no new information about the ongoing investigation, and Mayor Muriel Bowser has yet to comment on the matter after 23 lawmakers sent another letter on April 5 to Bowser, MPD Chief Robert J. Contee III, and Garland calling for autopsies and proper burials.
At the Friday rally, Bukovinac, Handy, and other speakers held up photos of the five babies. As people peered out from the glass walls of the medical examiner’s office building located behind the rally, activists turned around to show them the images while shouting “Justice for the five!”
A nearby table displayed models of the unborn to represent the 115 babies whose bodies PAAU says it received in a cardboard box outside a local abortion clinic, Washington Surgi-Clinic, from the driver of a medical waste disposal company. The bodies of 110 of the aborted babies, which PAAU has said were mostly in the first trimester, have been buried in a private cemetery following a Catholic funeral Mass and naming ceremony, according to the group.
Washington Surgi-Clinic is operated by Dr. Cesare Santangelo, an OBGYN and abortionist in Washington. In 2013, the pro-life group Live Action released a video it secretly recorded in which Santangelo says that he would allow a child who survived an abortion attempt to die if the child was born during the procedure. CNA has contacted the clinic multiple times for comment and has received no response.
At the end of the event, pro-life activists lined up to take turns placing roses on the steps of the medical examiner’s office. Police officers gathered nearby. A few people shouted at officers, accusing them of smirking and placing their hands on them, when they had activists move off the steps and further away from the entrance.
The rally was organized by Stanton Public Policy Center/Purple Sash Revolution, with co-sponsors including Priests for Life, CPAC, Created Equal and Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust.
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