The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) allegedly told the ACLJ via email that it would not dispose of the baby bodies on Friday, the Daily Signal reported. The OCME did not provide a timeline to the ACLJ, “but it did refer to a long queue of people and organizations who have been making demands on the medical examiner, such as the slew of lawmakers who have demanded that OCME retain the baby remains,” according to the report.
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Rodney Adams, the general counsel for the OCME, did not respond to Breitbart News’s request for comment on Friday before publication.
Earlier this week, an attorney representing pro-life activist Lauren Handy told Breitbart News the D.C. Medical Examiner was expected to destroy the remains of five late-term aborted babies whom activists believe may have been partially aborted or killed after birth in violation of federal law. Thomas More Society senior counsel Martin Cannon told Breitbart News that the D.C. Medical Examiner allegedly decided to move forward with disposal after the Biden administration made clear it had no need for their remains.
In a statement via email on Thursday, Rodney Adams denied any discussion of the case between the Medical Examiner’s Office and the Department of Justice (DOJ) specifically and did not respond to further questioning. The DOJ also declined to respond.
In addition to a pressure campaign from attorneys, Republican lawmakers, and pro-life organizations, the ACLJ represented Rev. Patrick Mahoney and sent a letter on his behalf to the D.C. Office of the Medical Examiner. Mahoney and his wife volunteered to take custody of the babies to give them a proper funeral and burial.
The ACLJ said on Friday that it was preparing to file an emergency writ of mandamus on behalf of Mahoney and contacted officials “one final time,” when they “received assurances that the D.C. government is standing down from today’s cremation.”
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“What this means is that we were successful in preventing the Biden DOJ and D.C. from destroying the evidence of potential crimes and from simultaneously blocking the honoring of these young lives with a proper burial,” the ACLJ said in a press release.
“The D.C. government also indicated to us that they will respond to Congress’ demands. We continue to hope that D.C. will in fact conduct a formal investigation into these babies’ deaths,” the ACLJ added.
In a statement to Breitbart News, ACLJ senior litigation counsel Olivia Summers said that while they are pleased with the OCME’s decision, “it is discouraging that so much effort and publicity was required to reach this result.”
Preborn children are, by the nature of their humanity, entitled to as much dignity and respect as any other person. The ACLJ works tirelessly to achieve a recognition under the law of the humanity and personhood of preborn children. This effort today to protect the remains of these children, to seek justice for their deaths, and to lay them to rest in a manner they deserve is one small part of our work to reach a place in our nation where all human life – no matter its stage in development or decline – is valued and protected, with no one being deprived of life without due process.
Abortion is one of if not the most divisive topics in our country today. Much of this is due to the personal and emotional issues that are involved. But abortion is not an answer. It is an action that is irrevocable and has untold and often unforeseen consequences for everyone involved. Women and children deserve better than abortion – as the issues surrounding this matter clearly demonstrate.
🚨🚨🚨UPDATE on the DC 5:
This is a welcome development. We are so grateful for the work of @ACLJ, @PAAUNOW & everyone in the pro-life movement to prevent this evidence from being destroyed so that justice can be sought these children.
Their lives mattered. The fight continues pic.twitter.com/tf4AVWWWWI
— Rep. Chip Roy Press Office (@RepChipRoy) February 9, 2024
Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), one of the Republican lawmakers who led his colleagues in calling on D.C. officials to stop the disposal of the baby remains, also celebrated the news as a “welcome development.”
“We are so grateful for the work of ACLJ, PAAUNOW & everyone in the pro-life movement to prevent this evidence from being destroyed so that justice can be sought [for] these children,” Roy’s press office said in a statement to X.
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The potential disposal of the babies came nearly two years after their discovery, along with 110 earlier-term babies. Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU) activist Lauren Handy and PAAU’s founder and former executive director Terrisa Bukovinac allegedly found the aborted babies in a waste box in March 2022 outside of the Washington Surgi-Clinic, an abortion facility in Foggy Bottom infamous for late-term abortions.
The activists believe Washington Surgi-Clinic abortionist Dr. Cesare Santangelo may have aborted the five late-term babies in violation of federal law. Their belief is bolstered by a 2012 undercover video from Live Action, which shows Santangelo allegedly saying he would not assist a baby who is born alive in a botched abortion. D.C. police previously told Breitbart News via email that Santangelo was not under investigation.
Bukovinac said at the time that the babies had “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.” PAAU said another child was found intact, still contained in its amniotic sac.
Five days after their discovery, the DOJ charged Handy and eight other activists with conspiracy against rights and violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act in a separate incident involving a 2020 blockade on the Washington Surgi-Clinic. The activists, including Handy, were found guilty in August 2023 and have been sitting in an Alexandria, Virginia, jail awaiting sentencing. They face up to 11 years in federal prison.
During the trial, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly notably barred Handy’s attorneys from entering photos of the babies’ remains as evidence at trial. She also barred them from including the undercover Live Action video, which Handy’s attorneys argued had “lasting impact” on Handy’s decision to become a pro-life activist and said is “integral to understanding Lauren’s motive that day in October 2020.”
“The condition of those babies and the circumstances under which they died is still relevant to the case,” Cannon told the Daily Signal earlier this week. “It’s pertinent to sentencing. And I’ve been making some efforts lately to find another pathologist and see what we can do. And, of course, I have advised the medical examiner’s office of that.”
On Wednesday, Republican lawmakers wrote a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding he put a halt to the disposal of the five babies. Cannon also wrote a letter on Wednesday to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, asking him to order a halt to the disposal. A coalition of 35 pro-life organizations additionally urged Congress to intervene.
— SBA Pro-Life America (@sbaprolife) February 9, 2024
Caroline Taylor Smith, Executive Director of PAAU, released a statement via email stating the “immediate outpouring of love and action for these babies this week has been overwhelming.”
“This victory today is a testament to the fact that grassroots action does work, and is needed just as much as government action. The phone calls, emails, tweets, and letters that implored Congress to act ultimately led to this win,” Smith said. “The fight is however not over. Pressure will continue until these babies receive hearings and a proper burial. Keep up the fight!”
Katherine Hamilton is a political reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow her on X @thekat_hamilton.