The D.C. Medical Examiner’s office halted plans to destroy the bodies of five late-term aborted babies on Friday that were discovered in March of 2022 — now, Republican lawmakers are calling for an investigation into their deaths and seeking a medical examiner who is willing to perform autopsies.
Several lawmakers and pro-life activists held a press briefing at the House Triangle on Wednesday to broadcast calls for an investigation into the deaths of the babies, named Harriet, Christopher X, Phoenix, Ángel, and Holly. Activists believe the babies may have been partially aborted or killed after birth in violation of federal law.
“I want to put out a public request for help because we are having issues locating someone that will conduct the autopsy to determine the cause of death,” Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL) said during the press conference.
“The reason why these children have not been able to be buried is because people are afraid of losing their medical license or examiner license here in Washington, DC. and their surrounding areas,” she continued. “So if you know anyone, please refer them to any one of our offices so that we can do that.”
Flanked by graphic pictures of “The Five,” @RepLuna presses DC officials about what the city is doing to protect women and babies from abortionists like Dr. Cesare Santangelo. pic.twitter.com/hhodMve9kG
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) March 29, 2023
The potential disposal of the babies came nearly two years after their discovery, along with 110 earlier-term babies. Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU) activist Lauren Handy and PAAU’s founder and former executive director Terrisa Bukovinac allegedly found the aborted babies in a waste box in March 2022 outside of the Washington Surgi-Clinic, an abortion facility in Foggy Bottom infamous for late-term abortions.
The activists believe Washington Surgi-Clinic abortionist Dr. Cesare Santangelo may have aborted the five late-term babies in violation of federal law. Their belief is bolstered by a 2012 undercover video from Live Action, which shows Santangelo allegedly saying he would not assist a baby who is born alive in a botched abortion. D.C. police previously told Breitbart News via email that Santangelo was not under investigation.
Bukovinac said at the time that the babies had “a range of injuries, including a fully intact girl we named Harriet, who had one eye open and an incision in the back of her neck, her brain suctioned out and her skull crushed.” PAAU said another child was found intact, still contained in its amniotic sac.
“Pulling their broken bodies from that box was the most viscerally heartbreaking experience that I have ever had,” Bukovinac said at the Wednesday press conference. “This is a seminal moment for the pro-life movement — a moment that is so palpable and with so much power that it can change the course of history forever.”
WATCH: Leftist Pro-Life Activists Demand D.C. Mayor Investigate 5 Potential Infanticide Cases:
Matt Perdie / Breitbart News
Five days after the discovery of the babies, the DOJ charged Handy and eight other activists with conspiracy against rights and violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act in a separate incident involving a 2020 blockade on the Washington Surgi-Clinic. The activists, including Handy, were found guilty in August 2023 and have been sitting in an Alexandria, Virginia, jail awaiting sentencing. They face up to 11 years in federal prison.
During the trial, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly notably barred Handy’s attorneys from entering photos of the babies’ remains as evidence at trial. She also barred them from including the undercover Live Action video, which Handy’s attorneys argued had “lasting impact” on Handy’s decision to become a pro-life activist and said is “integral to understanding Lauren’s motive that day in October 2020.”
Last week, an attorney representing pro-life activist Lauren Handy told Breitbart News the D.C. Medical Examiner was expected to destroy the babies’ remains. Thomas More Society senior counsel Martin Cannon told Breitbart News that the D.C. Medical Examiner allegedly decided to move forward with disposal after the Biden administration made clear it had no need for their remains.
“The condition of those babies and the circumstances under which they died is still relevant to the case,” Cannon told the Daily Signal. “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.”
Rodney Adams, the general counsel for the The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) denied any discussion of the case between the Medical Examiner’s Office and the Department of Justice (DOJ) specifically and did not respond to further questioning. The DOJ also declined to respond.
By the end of the week, the OCME allegedly told the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) via email that it would not dispose of the baby bodies on Friday, the Daily Signal reported. The OCME did not provide a timeline to the ACLJ, “but it did refer to a long queue of people and organizations who have been making demands on the medical examiner, such as the slew of lawmakers who have demanded that OCME retain the baby remains,” according to the report.
WATCH: AJ Hurley: “We Need a Congressional Hearing” for the Five Late-Term Aborted Babies Discovered in D.C.:
Jack Knudsen / Breitbart News
Indeed, pro-life activists and Republican lawmakers mounted a massive pressure campaign after news broke about the potential disposal. Reps. Chip Roy (R-TX), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Pat Fallon (R-TX), and Chris Smith (R-NJ), along with Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), James Lankford (R-OK), and 44 other lawmakers urgently sent various letters to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, D.C. Chief of Police Pamela Smith, D.C. Medical Examiner Francisco Diaz, and Attorney General Merrick Garland. The letters demanded the preservation of the remains and a thorough investigation into their deaths.
“We’re glad the Medical Examiner paused, but now what? We need to go seek the truth. We need to know what’s going to happen next. We need the Department of Justice…to look into this,” Roy said Wednesday.
“The District of Columbia is the nation’s capital. We have jurisdiction, and the city needs to answer to us when we’re trying to stand up and defend some of these precious lives,” Roy added.
Smith, who is also the cochair of the Pro-Life Caucus, also spoke at the press briefing, and called for “no coverups.”
“Where is the compassion? Where is the outrage? Where is the empathy for five precious children who were brutally slaughtered by abortion? Where is the justice? Why the coverup?” he said.
“Under absolutely no circumstances should the DC Medical Examiner discard the bodies of five innocent children whose lives were taken in a such a barbaric manner,” he continued. “If the DOJ is not going to fulfill its duty to investigate the potential federal crimes committed against these child victims, then Congress should immediately take up its own investigation, and demand, at a minimum, the preservation of evidence.”
“When they were alive, these babies deserved to be treated with respect and compassion,” he added. “Now after their violent slaughter, justice must be tenaciously pursued, with a thorough investigation into the details surrounding their brutal deaths.”
Katherine Hamilton is a political reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow her on X @thekat_hamilton.