Pro-life activists offer $25k for information about DC abortion doctor

PAAU activists hold a rally outside Washington Surgi-Clinic in Washington, D.C., May 4, 2022. PAAU activists hold a rally outside Washington Surgi-Clinic in Washington, D.C., May 4, 2022. | Katie Yoder/CNA

Pro-life activists offered a $25,000 reward Wednesday to anyone who comes forward with information about illegal activity by Washington, D.C., abortionist Dr. Cesare Santangelo.

The offer comes a month after activists associated with the anti-abortion group Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU) claimed that they discovered the remains of 115 aborted babies outside the clinic that Santangelo operates.

Five of the babies, who appear to be of late-term gestation, were located by the Metropolitan Police Department on March 30. PAAU says it arranged for the D.C. police to collect and examine the babies, fearing that the babies’ injuries could be evidence of illegal abortions. 

More than a dozen PAAU activists gathered outside Santangelo’s Washington Surgi-Clinic to announce the reward May 4. They called for a full investigation into the remains — and into Santangelo.

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

“It is absolutely critical that a whistleblower working at his clinic today or who has worked at his clinic previously, that they come forward in defense of these children," Teresa Bukovinac, the founder of PAAU, said during the rally.

Pro-life groups have long expressed concerns about Santangelo, an OBGYN and abortionist in the District of Columbia. In 2013, 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. 

At the rally, Bukovinac and other activists, such as Randall Terry, who has been serving as a spokesman for PAAU, attempted to hand deliver a letter to clinic workers. A slew of reporters and police officers followed them inside the office building where the abortion clinic is located. 

Terry slid a notice about the reward under the locked door of Washington Surgi-Clinic.

“We are offering $25,000 to any staffer of Cesare Santangelo who will testify under oath as to the crimes he has committed,” the letter reads. It details two examples of activities to report: “examples of babies killed after live birth or partial birth abortions” and “examples of medical waste company fraud.”

“If you have been a witness to, a participant in, or a victim of illegal activity taking place at Washington Surgi-Center you could be the recipient of a $25,000 reward,” the letter reads. “The truth always comes out and you can be part of that.”

Bukovinac and and another PAAU member, Lauren Handy, first told reporters on April 5 that they obtained the 115 aborted babies from a driver for a medical waste company outside of Washington Surgi-Clinic, with the intention of giving the unborn children a dignified funeral and burial

The medical waste company, Curtis Bay Medical Waste Services, denies the interaction took place. In a statement, the company, which operates a medical waste incinerator in Baltimore, also said its policy does not allow for the disposal of fetal remains. 

While D.C. police previously said that the five babies were aborted in accordance with D.C. law, pro-life leaders are concerned that the abortions could have violated federal law prohibiting the killing of babies outside the womb. 

Since the discovery of the five babies’ remains, lawmakers have sent multiple letters and pro-life groups have held rallies calling for a full investigation and autopsies of the babies’ bodies. 

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has given no indication that the city intends to autopsy the remains. Instead of addressing concerns about the abortionist, she has suggested Handy may have violated federal law. 

Handy, along with eight others, was indicted on March 30 for an incident unrelated to the discovery of the babies. The Justice Department charged her and eight others with conspiracy against rights and a Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act offense after a protest they staged at the ​​Washington Surgi-Clinic in 2020. Handy has pleaded not guilty.

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Handy was not present at the Wednesday rally because of her federal case, Bukovinac said.

During the event, pro-life activists took turns speaking at a podium and holding images of the five, as a crowd gathered to watch. A few young women, some of whom identified themselves as George Washington University students, attempted to interfere with the event.

At one point, some shouted, “abortion is healthcare,” to which PAUU members shouted back, “abortion is murder!” 

Toward the end, abortion supporters tried to erase chalk messages that pro-life activists left on the sidewalk with water, and by rubbing them with their shoes.

Bukovinac said she wanted pro-lifers to take part in “nonviolent direct action” to combat abortion. 

“Yes, it’s scary. Yes, there are risks involved. Your life changes because of it. But these babies are being killed,” she told CNA. “And if we say that we want justice for them, then we have to be willing to go out and actively put our bodies in-between the oppressor and the oppressed. And the oppressor is Cesare Santangelo.”

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She concluded, “We need a gathering of pro-life advocates out here every single day until Santangelo is held to account.”

CNA has contacted the Washington Surgi-Clinic multiple times for comment and has received no response.

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