Pro-life groups ask Congress to ‘intervene’ in disposal of aborted baby bodies

Supporters of abortion rights confront PAAU activists outside of Washington Surgi-Clinic in Washington, D.C., May 4, 2022. / Credit: Katie Yoder/CNA

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Feb 8, 2024 / 09:37 am (CNA).

Thirty-five pro-life organizations this week asked Congress to “intervene” and demand that the remains of five late-term aborted babies in Washington, D.C., not be discarded before an autopsy is done. 

The secular pro-life group Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU) originally obtained the remains of the aborted babies in March 2022. The pro-life group said it acquired the remains from the Washington Surgi-Clinic run by Dr. Cesare Santangelo, an OB-GYN and well-known abortionist in the city.

On Monday of this week PAAU announced that the D.C. medical examiner’s office told the group’s legal counsel of the medical examiner’s intent to “destroy” the remains of the babies — known among pro-life activists as the “D.C. Five” — at the behest of the Department of Justice.

“The D.C. medical examiner has informed our attorneys that the DOJ has instructed them to destroy the remains of the [D.C. Five],” the group said. 

In their letter this week, the pro-life groups — including the Thomas More Society, March for Life Action, and the Family Life Council — asked the House of Representatives to “immediately intervene to demand these bodies are not discarded before the proper autopsies and investigations have occurred.”

“Additionally, we urge members of Congress to offer their voice to speak out about the five innocent unborn children whose lives were brutally taken just three miles from the House chamber,” said the letter, which was addressed to House GOP Speaker Mike Johnson and Majority Leader Steve Scalise.

“The D.C. Five deserve justice, and the Department of Justice must cease covering up potential evidence of infanticide and partial-birth abortion in our nation’s capital,” the groups said in the letter.

A lawyer representing the group, Martin Cannon, confirmed to the Daily Signal on Monday that the Department of Justice reportedly advised the medical examiner that there was “no reason to keep those babies anymore.”

“And the medical examiner’s office accordingly tells me that if we don’t have an order to the contrary, by the end of this week, a court order, they will dispose of the babies,” he said.

Reached for comment this week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia referred CNA to the D.C. medical examiner’s office. The medical examiner’s office did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday night.

In 2022, the medical examiner’s office was reportedly set to allow a private pathologist to examine the remains. The Washington Post, citing two anonymous sources, reported earlier that year that the medical examiner’s office had no plans to conduct an autopsy.

Cannon, who represented PAAU activist director Lauren Handy in her federal FACE Act trial, said he had an agreement with the medical examiner’s office for a privately obtained forensic pathologist to examine the babies ahead of those proceedings.

“The condition of those babies and the circumstances under which they died is still relevant to the case,” Cannon said. “It’s pertinent to sentencing. And I’ve been making some efforts lately to find another pathologist and see what we can do. And, of course, I have advised the medical examiner’s office of that.”

Other signatories of the letter include Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, CatholicVote, National Right to Life Committee, Live Action, PAAU, American Center for Law and Justice, and Students for Life Action.

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