Congressional Republicans are pressing the D.C. government and the Biden administration to investigate how five fetuses died, noting that experts have suggested they were viable and potentially subject to illegal abortions.
Live Action News released footage earlier this month of the fetuses, which had been found in a medical waste package obtained by pro-life activists from the Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU). They claim to have obtained the package outside of the Northwest D.C. clinic of Dr. Cesare Santangelo, a late-term abortion doctor who previously indicated to a Live Action investigator that he would decline to provide lifesaving care to an infant who survived his abortions.
Responding to footage of the fetal remains, nearly 70 legislators wrote in a letter to the Justice Department Friday: “[J]ustice demands that at the very least, an investigation be conducted to ensure that anyone conducting these illegal, abhorrent acts against the most innocent among us may be prosecuted,”
Earlier this week, nearly two dozen members of Congress sent D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and the city’s chief of police. And on Saturday, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said he sent a letter to D.C.’s government requesting evidence preservation for future congressional oversight.
So far, the city’s medical examiner has declined an autopsy, despite multiple medical experts indicating potential violations of federal law.
Friday’s letter cites Dr. Kendra Kolb, a neonatalogist who told Live Action News that one of the girls is “28-30 weeks gestational age, with evidence of deep lacerations to the posterior neck which presumably correlates to the method of abortion used to end her life.”
If this is the case, the abortionist might have violated the Partial Birth Abortion Ban of 2003, which only contains an exception for life of the mother.
A year prior, in 2002, Congress passed the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, which is designed to ensure life-saving medical care for babies who survive abortions. The clinic where these babies were found is run by an abortionist who was caught admitting on camera that he wouldn’t provide that type of care.
Rather than denouncing those practices, the Justice Department has remained relatively silent in recent weeks and instead indicted Lauren Handy, the pro-life activist who obtained the fetal remains, over an incident that occurred in 2020.
Meanwhile, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra has denied the existence of partial-birth abortions and ignored the state of the babies when asked about them during a congressional hearing.
Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., had asked Becerra about Live Action’s report. Becerra responded that partial-birth abortion is a “politician created term. It is not a term that physicians use – not a term that my wife as an OBGYN uses to address the issues of pregnancy.”
The Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 defines the procedure as:
An abortion in which a physician deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living, unborn child’s body until either the entire baby’s head is outside the body of the mother, or any part of the baby’s trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother and only the head remains inside the womb, for the purpose of performing an overt act (usually the puncturing of the back of the child’s skull and removing the baby’s brains) that the person knows will kill the partially delivered infant, performs this act, and then completes delivery of the dead infant–is a gruesome and inhumane procedure that is never medically necessary and should be prohibited.
Some have questioned whether this particular baby had a condition known as anencephaly in which a pre-born child won’t develop certain parts of their brain or skull. Experts, however, have told LAN that the girl’s injuries point to her head appearing smaller due to a partial-birth abortion removing her brain matter.
“This baby is clearly large enough to be well into the third trimester,” said Dr. Jeff Wright, a maternal and fetal medicine specialist. “The vast majority of babies that size will survive and be healthy with commonly available NICU care. The video shows a surgical wound in the back of the skull, which is likely to have been made to facilitate removal of the fetal brain and delivery of the fetal head.”
“The question is when did that wound occur?” he asked. “I believe that an autopsy is in order to determine if this child was alive or not when the skull was punctured; and if removal of the brain with surgical instruments was the cause of death.”
“When you look at [the photo] from the side, it looks anencephalic but then when you look at the back and see that there’s that big injury, you kind of recognize that you’ve just got a collapsed skull because the intracranial content had been removed,” said Dr. Ingrid Skop of the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute.
She said that “if the medical examiner looked, they would easily be able to tell whether there had ever been a brain there.”