Muriel Bowser, the Democratic mayor of Washington, D.C., has remained silent on what her office plans to do with five aborted fetuses obtained by police that may have been aborted in violation of federal law.
D.C. police removed the fetuses on March 30 from the apartment of a pro-life activist who claims they were in a medical waste box she obtained outside the Washington Surgi-Clinic, an outpatient facility that performs abortions. The city's chief medical examiner said the fetuses were aborted according to city laws, which allow abortion at any point before birth, and there is no plan to autopsy the bodies. Live Action, a pro-life organization, obtained photos of the fetuses, however, and spoke with physicians, who said they may have been killed through illegal abortion methods, including infanticide. The mayor's office has not responded to multiple requests for comment regarding the allegations.
Republicans and pro-life activists have called on the city to autopsy the bodies to determine if the fetuses were delivered during the abortion procedure and later killed, which would violate the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 and the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act.
"Based on evidence collected at the time of recovery and photos that have been publicly shared, all five of these children appear to have developed well past the point of viability, and likely suffered severely painful abortion procedures, though without an autopsy, it is not known how each child died," Republican lawmakers, including Sens. Thom Tillis (N.C.), Josh Hawley (Mo.), and James Lankford (Okla.), wrote in a letter this week to Bowser. "They deserve to have their deaths investigated to ensure that no D.C. or federal laws were broken."
The aborted fetuses were obtained by Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising, whose members said they attempted to get a medical examination for the fetuses but later decided to contact the police.
The city police said they received a tip on a potential "biohazard" and refused to say if they were in contact with the anti-abortion group. Police took the fetuses during a raid of the apartment of Lauren Handy, who was arrested and indicted a few hours earlier in connection to a separate grand jury investigation from the FBI. That investigation concerned Handy and eight others' alleged violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.
Photos of the medical waste box obtained by Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising show the fetuses were supposed to be shipped to Curtis Bay, a Baltimore-based medical waste and energy company. Curtis Bay denies the group's story and cited a company policy that bans its services from using aborted fetuses, which some cities have burned for energy.
The Washington Surgi-Clinic did not respond to requests for comment.