Members of Congress Demand Full Investigation, Autopsies into Deaths of Late-Term Infants Aborted in Washington, DC

More than 20 members of Congress have signed a letter to both the mayor of Washington, D.C., and the Metropolitan Police Chief, demanding “a thorough investigation,” including “autopsies,” into the deaths of five late-term infants allegedly aborted in Cesare Santangelo’s Washington Surgi-Clinic.

Led by Senator James Lankford (R-OK) and Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), the lawmakers wrote to Mayor Muriel Bowser and Police Chief Robert J. Contee III Tuesday that, when the police “recovered the remains of five preborn children apparently from the Washington Surgi-Clinic in Washington, D.C.,” the Metropolitan Police “made the assumption that each child died as the result of a legal abortion.”

“It is our understanding that the Metropolitan Police made this assumption without conducting any medical evaluations,” the members of Congress continued. “We also understand from press reports that the D.C. medical examiner does not plan to perform autopsies on the children. This is completely unacceptable.”

The lawmakers reminded the mayor and police chief:

While other horrific methods of abortion unfortunately remain legal for the time being, killing a child through a partial-birth abortion is a crime under federal law. Under the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, a partial-birth abortion occurs when a physician partially delivers a living child for the purpose of performing an overt act that intentionally takes the life of the child. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal ban on partial-birth abortions in Gonzales v. Carhart in 2007.

Additionally, Congress passed the Born Alive Infants Protection Act to provide equal protections for children who are born alive during an abortion. If the bodies of other babies who were not aborted were recovered in a similar fashion, it would be hard to imagine the Metropolitan Police declining to conduct a thorough investigation into the death of each child.

The members of Congress demanded responses to the following questions by Wednesday, April 6:

  1. As you are aware, partial-birth abortion as defined in 18 U.S. Code § 1531 is illegal and punishable by fine, imprisonment or both. How did the Metropolitan Police reach the conclusion while recovering the remains of each child that all of the children died as the result of a legal abortion?
  2. In order to ensure that no child was subjected to a partial birth abortion and that no child was born alive and left to die, will you commit to conducting a thorough investigation of the death of each child?
  3. As part of such investigation, will you commit to ensuring the preservation of each child’s remains for appropriate examination during the investigation?
  4. Will you direct the Chief Medical Examiner to perform an autopsy on each child to determine the method and cause of death in accordance with § 5–1405 of D.C. Code?
  5. Will you direct a subsequent autopsy to be completed by an independent, licensed pathologist to confirm the findings of the Chief Medical Examiner?
  6. If an autopsy suggests any of the children were victims of criminal activity, will you immediately refer the evidence to both the Department of Justice and the Attorney General for the District of Columbia for criminal prosecution?
  7. Will you commit to properly and respectfully burying each child?

Pro-life and human rights organizations plan to hold a rally, called #JusticeForTheFive, Friday at 12:00 p.m. ET, at the office of the Washington, DC, chief medical examiner, demanding he perform “complete and transparent” autopsies on the five late-term babies.

“The truth of what happened to these babies should not be hidden in denial,” said Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, in a statement. “That would be an irresponsible approach. Now that these bodies have been discovered, let’s discover exactly how they were killed. Let’s have the strength to defend the rule of law.”

A recently released Knights of Columbus/Marist Poll found 71 percent of Americans support restrictions on abortion, including 49 percent of Democrats, 93 percent of Republicans, and 70 percent of Independents.

As The Star News Network reported Wednesday, Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU), a group of pro-life activists who mostly self-describe as “leftists,” held a press conference Tuesday to detail the events surrounding their discovery of the bodies of the five late-term babies who they said were included in a “biohazard” box picked up by a truck labeled Curtis Bay Medical Waste Services.

Terrisa Bukovinac, founder and executive director of PAAU, said she and Lauren Handy, the group’s director of activism, asked the truck driver if they could have one of the boxes, and he reportedly agreed.

“In the presence of a Catholic deacon, Lauren cut open the box and the red plastic bag inside,” Bukovinac continued:

We then proceeded to unpack the remains of 110 mostly first-trimester aborted children. At the bottom of the box was a clear plastic bag with five more containers. One much bigger than the remaining four. Lauren reached into the largest bucket and removed the remains of a beautiful, intact and nearly full-term baby boy we named Christopher X.

Bukovinac said she and Handy discovered four additional babies, “with a range of injuries, including a fully intact girl we named Harriet, who had one eye open and an incision in the back of her neck, her brain suctioned out and her skull crushed.”

In 2012, pro-life organization Live Action conducted an undercover investigation, released in a video series titled Inhuman, into the late-term abortion industry. A pregnant Live Action reporter, posing as a woman who is 22 weeks pregnant and seeking an abortion, interviewed Santangelo at his clinic. The reporter asked him what he does if an infant survives an abortion.

“Usually, at this point in your pregnancy, it’s too early to survive, usually,” the abortionist told the reporter. “It will expire shortly after birth … we would not help it.”

“Hopefully, we’ll get the pregnancy out intact, but it doesn’t always happen that way,” Santangelo is heard saying in the video. “I cut the umbilical cord first, wait for the baby to expire, and then we do it that way.”

“So, hopefully, the … – uh, the fetus, will expire first and then we do the pregnancy termination that way,” the abortionist continued.

Asked by the reporter if he takes the baby out “intact,” Santangelo is heard saying, “We try. Yeah, that’s the whole reason why we do the dilation today and tomorrow.”

The abortionist added in the video that he tries to “sever the umbilical cord first, and we wait for that to stop pulsing, and this way the fetus is expired first.”

When the reporter asked if the baby has “ever survived,” Santangelo responded, “No. Not here, no. No.”

“It could,” the abortionist is heard continuing. “I mean, you know, if some people go into labor, you know, prior to us, you know – when you do this, what we do is, we try and help the, uh, cervix dilate, and some people will go into labor before we do the procedure.”

Santangelo then said that situation “can happen,” but “it’s unusual.”

Asked what he does if the baby ends up surviving, the abortionist is heard saying, “In your pregnancy, it’s too early to survive, usually. It will expire shortly after birth.”

“But if it did, like what would happen?” the reporter pressed him.

“Technically, you know, legally, we would be obligated to help it, you know, to survive,” Santangelo said. “But, you know, it probably wouldn’t. It’s all in how vigorously you do things to help a fetus survive at this point.”

The abortionist explained at 23-24 weeks’ gestation, “if you do everything possible to help it survive, you know, there’s a – maybe a 20-30 percent chance that it would survive.”

“If you don’t do anything, then, you know, the chances are much, much less,” he added.

When the reporter asked him, “Would you make sure that … it doesn’t survive?” Santangelo said, “You know, there are things you do.”

“Obviously, you’re here for a certain procedure, and if your pregnancy were – let’s say you went into labor, the membranes ruptured, and you delivered before we got to the termination part of the procedure here, you know, then we would do things – we would – we would not help it,” he stated.

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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]

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