DC aborted babies: Private autopsy to examine how they died, Sen. Cruz says

Ted Cruz Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) speaks in front of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., on June 9, 2022. | Screenshot taken from Twitter video by Ford Fischer

Sen. Ted Cruz and a pro-life group said Thursday that authorities will allow a private pathologist to examine the remains of five babies the group claims it recovered from a D.C. abortion clinic.

The Texas Republican lawmaker and activists from the group, Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU), along with other members of Congress, repeatedly have called for the D.C. medical examiner to conduct autopsies of the babies to determine if they were aborted in violation of federal law.

Cruz announced that a private autopsy was in the works during a press conference Thursday morning with members of PAAU outside the Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C.

“We’ve learned that an attorney for PAAU has confirmed that the D.C. medical examiner has agreed to allow a private pathologist to examine the bodies of the five babies,” Cruz said.

“This is a step in the right direction,” he added. 

The group’s media coordinator, Caroline Smith, later confirmed Cruz’s announcement to CNA, saying that PAAU’s lawyer had reached a verbal agreement with the medical examiner’s office. 

CNA reached out to the office of DC Mayor Muriel Bowser for comment late Thursday but did not receive a response prior to publication. You can watch Cruz's press conference here.

The dead babies made headlines in April after members of PAAU held a press conference where they claimed that they had obtained 115 aborted babies from a driver for a medical waste company to bury them in a dignified way. Five of those babies appeared to be of late-term gestation. 

Smith told CNA that the medical examiner’s office confirmed to PAAU that the five babies are in the office’s possession.

Father Bill Kuchinsky of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in West Virginia previously told CNA that he buried the other 110 aborted babies in a dignified way.

The Washington Post reported April 1 that D.C. officials said the city’s medical examiner would not perform autopsies on the five babies. Executive Assistant Chief of D.C. Police Ashan Benedict said at a March 31 press conference that the five babies “were aborted in accordance with D.C. law.” 

Pro-life groups have expressed concern that the manner in which the babies died violated federal law.

Cruz also said that if the Republicans win the Senate majority in November, hearings would be scheduled “on the likely violations on the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban and the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act.”

“Much of the media attention is focused on the activists, including Terrisa [Bukovinac], who obtained the bodies, not on the abortionist who took the lives of these children; and not on the government officials in the District of Columbia and what they were doing with the remains or whether they were going to conduct an investigation,” he said. You can watch CNA reporter Katie Yoder discuss the case in the video below.

Cruz said he would continue demanding justice for the babies despite the lack of media attention. He added that he wrote a letter to Mayor Bowser and Metropolitan Police Chief Robert J. Contee III notifying them that they “have a legal obligation to preserve evidence in this case for future congressional oversight hearings.”

“On the face of this,” Cruz said, “the evidence, the remains of these five children strongly suggests a violation of criminal law that, to date, the attorney general [Merrick Garland] is turning a blind eye to because his political preferences incline him in that direction.”

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