After the remains of full-term aborted babies were recovered at an abortion clinic before being incinerated as medical waste, pro-life activists are demanding that the Department of Justice take action against the abortionist they believe committed the illegal acts.
Terrisa Bukovinac, the founder of Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising, and Randall Terry, the founder of the pro-life group Operation Rescue, hosted a press conference in Washington, D.C., Tuesday to discuss Bukovinac’s discovery of full-term aborted babies inside a biohazard box marked as medical waste that was to be incinerated and converted into electricity. Bukovinac came across the box while protesting outside Washington Surgi-Clinic, an abortion clinic in the nation’s capital.
“On Friday, March 25, the Day of the Unborn Child, Lauren Handy and I went to Washington Surgi Center to engage in anti-abortion advocacy. Upon arrival, we saw a truck labeled Curtis Bay Medical Waste Services parked outside,” she recalled. “We approached the driver, who was about to load two large boxes with biohazard symbols onto his truck.”
While the driver indicated that he didn’t know what was inside the boxes, Bukovinac explained to him that they contained “dead babies.” The driver agreed to let the pro-life activists take one of the boxes after they told him their plans to give the aborted babies “a proper burial and a funeral.” Upon opening the box at Handy’s apartment, the pro-life activists discovered “110 mostly first-trimester aborted children” and a “clear plastic bag with five more containers, one much bigger than the remaining four.”
Bukovinac said one of the buckets contained “a beautiful intact and nearly full-term baby boy whom we named Christopher X.” She described the discovery of the remains of the full-term babies as “the most devastating and soul-crushing experience of our lives.”
As they opened the remaining containers they found “four more babies with a range of injuries, including [a] fully intact girl we named Harriet who had one eye open, an incision in the back of her neck, her brain suctioned out and her skull crushed.” The pro-life activists found two additional babies they named Holly and Angel, who “were severely dismembered,” and a fifth baby, Phoenix, who “was whole and still inside the amniotic sac.”
Bukovinac noted that in most abortions conducted after 20 weeks gestation, doctors administer feticide to give the unborn baby a “heart attack, which helps prevent a live birth and the excruciating pain of total dismemberment.” She discussed how in 2013, undercover footage captured by the pro-life group Live Action showed Dr. Cesare Santangelo, the “sole abortionist on staff for decades at Washington Surgi, admitting that he does not use feticide.”
“Because of this admission and the advanced gestational ages of these babies and their intact condition, the likelihood that some were born alive is undeniable,” she maintained. “The injuries sustained by Harriet strongly imply she was the victim of a partial-birth abortion.”
Bukovinac and Handy alerted the District’s Police Homicide Unit about the five larger babies and asked for an “investigation into their deaths.” Terry stressed that “we did not want these babies to go to the D.C. police” because “they should have gone to the federal government, they should have gone to the DOJ or to the FBI. However, after the pro-life activists were unable to find an independent doctor to conduct an autopsy, they elected to turn the unborn babies over to the police.
“We are demanding that the D.C. police conduct a full investigation into the deaths of these babies, including thorough autopsies. We demand that the U.S. Department of Justice prosecute Santangelo for violations of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act and the Partial Birth Abortion [Ban] Act, and we’re demanding it now.”
Bukovinac vowed that “Pro-life Americans will not stay silent in the face of such aggressive and barbarous violence and we will diligently work until the American abortion-industrial complex is fully disarmed and dismantled.”
A graphic displayed at the press conference listed the names the pro-life activists had given to all 115 unborn babies they found in the biohazard boxes marked as medical waste. The pro-life activists told reporters that the 110 babies aborted in the first trimester were given a proper burial and funeral.
The pro-life activists’ discovery from 2020 garnered national attention last week when the DOJ announced that it would be indicting nine pro-life activists for trying to block access to the abortion clinic where the full-term baby was found. If the activists are found guilty, they will each face 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine not to exceed $350,000.
Several pro-life groups issued statements calling for an investigation and legal action t be taken against the abortionist who they believe violated federal law by performing partial-birth abortions.
“These horrific images of aborted children — human beings like us, subjected to lethal violence and possibly born alive at an age when their pain would have been excruciating — expose the brutality of every one of the thousands of abortions that take place daily in America,” said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser in a statement on Monday.
“We call on the D.C. medical examiner to do an autopsy of these children’s bodies and for federal authorities to perform a thorough, unsparing investigation and prosecute violations of the law.”
Live Action founder and President Lila Rose issued a similar statement, insisting that “The Washington DC police department and the District’s medical examiner must conduct a thorough forensic medical examination of five dead children discovered outside a DC abortion clinic, to determine their manner of death.”
In a Twitter thread last week, Rose also called on Congress to “start an inquiry to ensure the federal laws that protect children who are born alive that stop partial-birth abortion are being enforced by @TheJustciceDept.”
Bukovinac was not the only anti-abortion advocate to speak at the press conference. Missy Smith, a pro-life activist who previously ran unsuccessfully for the position of non-voting delegate representing the District of Columbia in House of Representatives, detailed actions taken by Santangelo. She lamented that pro-life activists working to “expose him” were arrested in October 2020. Those arrested included Handy.
“In November 2020, I personally retrieved a full-term baby on which Dr. Santangelo had induced an abortion,” she said. “She was found in the toilet of a Maryland restaurant.”
Smith said she firmly believes “the DC Metro Police are actively involved in a cover-up of Dr. Santangelo’s crimes.”
“The biowaste company from which we intercepted these children’s bodies is Curtis Bay Energy,” she added. “Curtis Bay Energy states on their website that they burn biomedical waste to sustain the energy needs of the Baltimore area. This means tragically that they have received, transferred and burned the corpses of aborted babies to make electricity for the households and businesses of the Baltimore area. If you live in the Baltimore area, you must know that aborted babies have been burned to keep your lights on and your house warm.”
Smith concluded her remarks by calling on “Curtis Bay Energy to end this barbaric practice and to confirm publicly that they have done so.”
In a statement to the press, Curtis Bay Energy refuted allegations that one of its employees allowed the pro-life activists to take a biohazard box or that it contained the remains of aborted babies, saying:
On March 25, a Curtis Bay employee took custody of three packages from the Washington Surgery Center, Washington Surgi-Clinic and delivered all of them to Curtis Bay’s incineration facility. At no time did the Curtis Bay employee hand over any of these packages to the PAAU or other third party and any allegations made otherwise are false.
As stated in client agreements and company policy, customers like Washington Surgi-Clinic are prohibited from disposing the fetuses and human remains via Curtis Bay Services. Curtis Bay provides its clients with medical waste bags and boxes to use in a manner that complies with applicable law, client agreements and company policy. Curtis Bay continues to fully cooperate with law enforcement.
Bukovinac refuted Curtis Bay Energy’s claim, adding: “When we spoke with the driver, he said that he had already scanned the boxes in and that was right before he asked ‘what would you do with them’ so I am not sure if Curtis Bay is lying or if he simply already scanned them in and so therefore they’re accounting for them.” From our observation, there was only two boxes but it’s possible that we had loaded one onto the truck before we arrived.”
“It’s definitely possible that they don’t know what is inside the box,” she contended. “It’s possible that Santangelo was in violation of his contract with Curtis Bay by putting these babies in this box.”
In a letter to the District’s chief medical examiner and the captain of the homicide branch of the Metropolitan Police Department, attorney Steve Cooley urged the “appropriate authorities” to conduct “an investigation and forensic examinations” as “required by applicable law.”
Bukovinac stated in the days leading up to the press conference that the Metropolitan Police Department “does not believe a crime has been committed against these babies under D.C. law,” emphasizing that “the laws in question are federal laws enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice.”