Terissa Bukovinac and Lauren Handy. C: Cassidy Elaine Photography

“Justice for the five”: Media silent at horror discovery of 5 late-term aborted babies in Washington DC

Official investigators in Washington D.C. are mostly remaining silent regarding the horror discovery of the bodies of five late-term aborted infants. The bodies were recovered from a medical waste box taken from abortion facility Washington Surgi-clinic in the nation’s capital on Wednesday 25th March.

Much of the media reporting is deliberately skirting the primary issue – that these late-term abortions may be illegal, and that these are undeniably viable babies who died in in the most cruel and appalling circumstances. 

The bodies of 115 earlier-stage aborted babies, and 5 late-term infants, were discovered by pro-life activists Lauren Handy and Terrisa Bukovinac in an unfolding story which has caused an outcry online. 

The discovery of the bodies has been met with heartbreak and outcry, and the harrowing and deeply disturbing images of the babies have been released online. The five later-term children were viable, some of them intact, one born still in the amniotic sac, and possibly born alive. Another one of the children, a baby girl possibly 28 weeks old, appeared to have her neck cut and her brain removed in what may be an illegal partial birth abortion. 

It is understood that after the bodies of the earlier stage babies were buried following a baptism and mass. The pro-life volunteers who found the bodies of the 5 babies aborted late term said they also called DC police  to collect the babies’ bodies for “forensic examination.”

DISCOVERY OF THE BODIES

The activists say that the driver of a medical waste disposal truck outside the Washington clinic gave them the box the remains were discovered in, after they met him there while reaching out to women at the facility on the morning of the 25th March, the international day of the unborn child. 

Despite the interception of the box, which was reportedly on route to be incinerated into renewable energy, the driver’s employer, Curtis Bay Energy, denies the exchange ever happened.

One of the activists, Terrisa Bukovinac of pro-life group Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising, has said that surveillance footage could be used by police to confirm their claim. Speaking to Catholic News Agency last week, Bukovinac said: “My understanding is that there is a camera right out in the front”, referring to the Washington Surgi-Clinic, where the box allegedly changed hands.

The driver was from Curtis Bay Energy, a company which uses a process to incinerate medical waste and convert it into energy for profit. According to the activists, the driver confirmed he was picking up the boxes from the abortion centre. At this point, Handy and Bukovinac say they asked the driver if he knew that he was likely transporting the bodies of aborted babies. According to the activists, the driver became physically shaken on learning what was in the boxes. 

Bukovinac says she then asked if they could take one of the boxes. When the driver asked what they would do with the remains, Handy, a practising Catholic, said that they wanted to give the babies a proper burial and a funeral. The driver, who the activists say seemed convicted to act, allegedly said he would allow them to take the box.

The activists asked a priest to be present as they opened the box in Ms Handy’s apartment. What they discovered in the medical waste box ‘changed the course of their lives forever,’ according to Herb Geraghty, a close friend of Handy’s and executive director of pro-life group Rehumanize International. In the videos taken to document, Handy’s voice can be heard cracking as she explains what she is finding, while Bukovinac can be heard crying.

“The toll that this has taken on the mental health of every person involved is unimaginable — and only more so now that this has been thrust into the national spotlight,” Geraghty said in a statement released last week.

The activists say that after the initial discovery, they immediately began planning the funeral mass and burial. A mass was celebrated, and the babies were given individual names. The 110 babies who were earlier in gestational age were then buried, and it is understood the activists worked to find an independent pathologist to examine the five late-term children. 

It is understood, going by the statement released by Geraghty explaining the situation, that Handy was insistent on burying the babies as quickly as possible and “was reluctant to the idea of turning them over to the police”. This reluctance stemmed from the police’s prior handling of a similar situation in 2013. Handy, along with many others, were horrified when Philadelphia police refused to allow the unborn children killed by convicted murderer Kermit Gosnell to be given a funeral or proper burial, instead incinerating the bodies and placing them in an unmarked mass grave.

It is understood that the bodies of the babies late-term aborted remained at the apartment for four days, while the activists vacated the residence and looked for someone to do a medical examination of the remaining children to determine if they were victims of illegal partial birth abortion. After four days, they were unsuccessful in finding a medical examiner and determined that the best course of action would be to turn the babies over to the police in hopes that they would investigate the circumstances of the deaths. The activists contacted a lawyer who collaborated with DC homicide detectives to collect the bodies.

Concerns that the children were victims of illegal partial-birth or born-alive abortions have been voiced by multiple medical experts who examined the graphic photos. 

‘JUSTICE FOR THE FIVE’

Pro-life organisations, including national non-profit Live Action, have demanded that a proper investigation be done to determine the cause of death of the infants. Online, thousands of people have been posting the hashtag #JusticeForTheFive across social media to spur change as officials remain silent on their investigation into the grizzly discovery.

Last week, 69 members of the Congress led by Senator Mike Lee and Rep. Chris Smith demanded that the Attorney General and the Justice Department step in to conduct a full investigation into whether the deaths of the five babies violated federal law. Officials have so far remained silent into their investigation.

Despite having the bodies of the five fully-formed babies in their possession for more than a week, D.C. law enforcement have not performed any autopsies on the bodies, and have so far refused to investigate the deaths. 

Thousands of people have expressed outrage at D.C. authorities’ decision not to further investigate the deaths of the babies or perform autopsies. Live Action insists that authorities have so far ignored the public outcry from Congress, medical professionals, and people from around the nation. 

‘COVER-UP’

Lila Rose, President of Live Action, described the discovery as ‘devastating’ – and slammed those involved in what she termed “a horrendous cover-up”.

While existing law in Washington D.C does not outlaw late-term abortion, existing law in Washington D.C. does protect born-alive infants and victims of partial-birth abortions. D.C. and federal authorities have been accused of ignoring federal law by not investigating the deaths of the babies.

Rose said: “The abortionist, the industry he works in, and the government of D.C think that if they can just ignore this scandal long enough, it will go away. 

“I can promise them that they are wrong. We will not stop demanding justice for these children until true justice is achieved,” she added.

The pro-life organisation urged people to contact DC authorities to demand an immediate investigation, providing contact details for mayor of DC Muriel Bowser, and the DC Medical Examiner, while tweeting the hashtag, ‘#JusticeForTheFive’.

“Your outcry is making a difference,” they told followers late last week, adding: “Keep demanding justice and raising the roof”.

As outcry continues over the deaths, the abortionist responsible, Cesare Santangelo, is still operating his late-term abortion facility in the district of Columbia without interference. The abortionist has been branded ‘the Kermit Gosnell of DC’, the abortionist and convicted murderer who was jailed in 2013 for killing three babies born alive after failed abortion attempts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

Attention has also been directed at the experiences of former patients of Santangelo, many of whom used Google reviews to warn women not to go to his abortion facility. Live Action shared a selection of Google reviews that the group say “may indicate infanticide rampant at this facility”. 

One woman described having a late-term abortion under Santangelo. In the beginning stages of the abortion, she experienced severe bleeding complications in her hotel room, stating: “I woke up covered in blood barely conscious.”

Speaking about her baby, she said: “I don’t remember what happened exactly or if he was born alive. I didn’t even get a glance at him because she [the nurse] rushed out of the room.”

CRITICISM OF MEDIA COVERAGE

Media outlets including the Washington Post, ABS News, Buzzfeed News and the New York Times have been criticised for their ‘dishonest, lazy’ reporting of the ‘horror story’. 

Amid reports that the bodies were “seized” by DC police after receiving a ‘tip off’ – when in fact the activists were the ones who invited the police and urged them to investigate – Lila Rose of Live Action, along with others, blasted a lack of ‘journalistic integrity or curiosity’.

“All they seem interested in is attempting to smear pro-life activists and protect abortionists,” Rose said of media outlets in the US. “They want to frame the activists in the worst light possible and allow the abortionist to hide his murders in the dark.” 

Rose accused journalists of “slandering the activists” – who have faced scrutiny over their tactics – and “misleading the public” in order to place the blame firmly at the feet of Handy and Bukovinac. 

The media coverage of the shocking case has echoes of the infamous trial of Kermit Gosnell, a late-term abortionist eventually convicted of the murder of three babies born alive after abortion. The media ignored the ‘house of horrors’ story until one local reporter shamed them by tweeting a photo of the empty seats which had been reserved for journalists.  

Senator Ted Cruz is among politicians who have called on DC authorities to preserve the remains to carry out an autopsy into how the babies died – as he sent a letter to Mayor Bowser on Friday suggesting the babies “may have been murdered or aborted in violation of federal law”. He said that DC authorities may be planning to incinerate the children’s bodies – as feared by Handy, stating: “It has been brought to my attention that the D.C. government may incinerate the bodies of these five children without conducting an investigation, without performing any autopsies, and without affording these children a proper, respectful burial.”

Meanwhile, the abortionist responsible for the deaths, Cesare Santangelo, has not yet been taken into police custody.

WARNING: GRAPHIC AND DISTURBING IMAGES BELOW:

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