Forced Birth Enthusiasts Put Fetal Remains On Display After Medical Examiner Rejects Them

Forced Birth Enthusiasts Put Fetal Remains On Display After Medical Examiner Rejects Them

Last Wednesday, anti-abortion activist Lauren Handy and several others were indicted for unlawfully invading and blockading the entrance of the Washington Surgi-Clinic, an abortion clinic in DC. The same day, authorities found five dead fetuses in coolers in Handy's home. Handy and her group, Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising, claim to have received the fetal remains from a "whistleblower" at the Surgi-Clinic who promised them the fetuses were aborted illegally.

On Friday night, another anti-abortion group, Live Action, released and published photos and videos of said fetuses. Said videos, while likely very gruesome, do not in any way suggest that a crime was committed.


An anti-abortion group called Live Action, a 501c3 nonprofit based in Arlington, posted several sensitive videos and images, apparently showing the five fetuses found at the house, on its social media platforms.

One video shows a cardboard shipping box, which apparently contained the fetuses. A closer look at the box gives a sense of how the anti-abortion activists may have gotten a hold of the five fetuses.

The label on the box says it was transported by Curtis Bay Medical Waste Services, and generated from Washington Surgi Clinic, a health center on F Street that says on its website that it provides abortions up to 27 weeks of pregnancy.

Curtis Bay incinerates waste from hospitals and clinics at its facility in Baltimore.

It is starting to at least appear like Handy or someone in her group might have tipped off the police to her creepy collection, with the intention of getting the medical examiner do an autopsy on the remains. While DC does not have any specific laws regulating the timing of abortions, Handy and her group believe (offering no proof whatsoever) that they violated federal law, saying in a statement that "their late gestational ages as well as their apparent sustained injuries potentially show violations of the Partial Birth Abortion Act as well as the Born Alive Infants Protection Act which are federal crimes."

Live Action's Lila Rose, a person with absolutely no medical background who had only seen video of the fetal remains, said that "[t]he remains are in the possession of D.C. police and the D.C. Medical Examiner. They have failed to do an autopsy on the children, some of whom appear to be viable and fullterm."

Northwestern University med school bioethicist Katie Watson, who actually does know what she's talking about, explained that there is no way people with no medical background would be able to know what the deal was with those fetuses.

[Watson] said it was unlikely a layperson — like the activists — could tell simply by looking at fetal remains whether it was born alive, which could make the abortion a federal crime. She also said many women don’t realize they are pregnant until the second trimester, and that antiabortion laws and restrictions deliberately make it more difficult for patients — 75 percent of whom are low-income.

“I want to push back on what I see as this idea of later abortion coming with this stigma. In many ways, part of this patient group is the predictable and natural product of the restrictions on abortion,” she said.

She also called the activists’ use of the images “tremendously disrespectful.”

“To me, what is gruesome is the appropriation of other women’s fetal remains for a piece of political symbolism.”

The DC medical examiner's office has no plans to examine the fetuses and the police say the only crime here is how those fetuses got in Lauren Handy's house.

Ashan Benedict, D.C. police’s executive assistant chief of police, told reporters Thursday that the fetuses appeared to have been aborted “in accordance with D.C. law [and] there doesn’t seem to be anything criminal in nature about that except for how they got into this house.”

And that is where the story of the DC anti-abortion activist with the five fetuses in their house stands today. We will update whenever the story gets weirder!

[WUSA / Washington Post]

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse


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