A pro-life group is calling for the Washington D.C. medical examiner to perform autopsies on five aborted babies whose bodies police recovered from an apartment last week, citing medical professionals’ opinions that the babies may have been killed outside the womb, in violation of federal laws. 

Live Action, a group known for its undercover investigations of abortion clinics, shared an article, posted on its liveaction.org website, which included graphic images of five aborted babies and opinions from medical professionals on their gestational ages and manner of death.

The medical professionals Live Action interviewed included Kathi Aultman, a board certified OBGYN who formerly performed abortions before becoming pro-life. By her assessment, at least two of the five babies likely were partially or fully born when they were killed, which is prohibited by a pair of federal laws, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 and the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002

Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU), a secular group that demonstrates against abortion, say they obtained the babies' remains from a medical waste company. PAAU has pledged a full explanation of how and why they came into possession of the remains at a press conference scheduled for 11 a.m. ET on April 5. 

D.C. metropolitan police recovered the remains on March 30 at the Washington, D.C. home of activist Lauren Handy, a Catholic convert who has been involved in pro-life activism, including sidewalk counseling to encourage women not to enter abortion clinics, for several years. 

D.C. officials have not announced any charges in connection with the revelation of the remains. Executive Assistant Chief of Police Ashan Benedict said at a March 31 press conference that the five babies recovered “were aborted in accordance with D.C. law” and that an investigation into how the remains ended up in the apartment is ongoing. 

And on Friday, the Washington Post reported that the medical examiner’s office does not plan to autopsy the bodies, though two anonymous officials told the Post that the decision not to do autopsies “could change if they receive additional information.” 

Live Action founder Lila Rose questioned how police could have determined that the abortions were lawful without performing a full autopsy. 

The D.C. Medical Examiner's office did not respond to CNA’s request for comment Monday. 

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PAAU said it obtained the fetal remains from a “whistleblower” who worked for Curtis Bay Medical Waste, and that the remains came from the Washington Surgi-Clinic, which advertises that they perform abortions up to 27 weeks gestation. 

They also said a member of their group “​​privately arranged” for police to pick up the remains for “forensic examination,” fearing that the babies were aborted illegally. The group has said that a funeral Mass and naming ceremony for the unborn babies was held.

The Washington Surgi-Clinic is operated by Dr. Cesare Santangelo, an OBGYN whom Live Action previously recorded saying that he would allow a child who survived an abortion attempt to die if the child was born during the procedure. 

For its part, Curtis Bay Medical Waste told WUSA9 on Monday that its employees are prohibited from transporting fetal remains by company policy, and that any use of a company-labeled box for fetal remains was not authorized.

Other pro-life organizations have joined the call for the medical examiner to investigate the babies’ manner of death. Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the advocacy group Susan B. Anthony List, called for a “thorough, unsparing investigation.”

“These horrific images of aborted children – human beings like us, subjected to lethal violence and possibly born alive at an age when their pain would have been excruciating – expose the brutality of every one of the thousands of abortions that take place daily in America,” Dannenfelser said. 

“Despite legislatures across the country acting on the will of the people to advance more protections for unborn children and mothers in recent years than ever before, atrocities like these continue because of radical U.S. policy that allows abortion on demand up to the moment of birth. How many times must we be confronted with the truth? As the great abolitionist William Wilberforce said about the slave trade, ‘You may choose to look the other way but you can never again say you did not know.’”

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D.C.’s abortion laws are some of the least restrictive in the nation. The district does not have a gestational limit until which abortions can take place, meaning they are legal until birth.

Handy was, along with eight other protestors, charged this week for apparent violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act during a protest at the Washington Surgi-Center in 2020, which one of the protestors streamed live on Facebook.