Pro-life group orchestrated police discovery of dead babies
The woman who kept the bodies in her apartment belongs to a secular anti-abortion organization
Police on Thursday found the bodies of five aborted babies in the Washington, D.C., apartment of Lauren Handy, 28, one of nine pro-life activists arrested this week for entering an abortion facility in 2020 in violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. A local news anchor on WUSA-TV called the story “bizarre and chilling,” while Handy’s neighbors told NBC News that it was “really messed up” and “horrifying” that there were “fetuses in someone’s house.”
Handy is the director of activism at Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU), a group founded in October 2021 by Terrisa Bukovinac, a self-described liberal atheist pro-lifer. After news broke of the police recovering the remains of the aborted babies, PAAU around midnight on Friday morning posted a statement about the incident on Twitter, connecting the arrests of the nine pro-life activists to the five unborn babies.
According to the statement, one of the nine defendants in the case “privately arranged for the Washington, D.C., police homicide unit to pick up” the remains. PAAU describes the babies as “recently discovered” and said they were at late gestational ages and appeared to have “sustained injuries.” The defendant turned them in due to suspicions that forensic examinations could show they were aborted in violation of federal law. The Partial-Birth Abortion Act prohibits a specific technique of late term abortion that involves partially delivering the baby, and the Born Alive Infants Protection Act gives legal protection to infants born alive during abortions.
Handy and other activists accessed labs and freezers March 9 at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she said they saw bags “filled with aborted baby body parts.” The PAAU shows a picture of paper bags lining shelves in the freezer. It is unclear if the March 9 visit is related to the aborted baby remains obtained by police this week.
PAAU said “a funeral Mass and ‘naming ceremony’ was offered for the deceased babies with their bodies present.” Another pro-life leader, Monica Migliorino Miller, has said that, in the past, she stored boxes of aborted babies’ bodies in her apartment to arrange burials for them.
Washington police said at a news conference Thursday that whoever aborted the babies apparently did so in compliance with local law, adding, “There doesn’t appear to be anything criminal about that — except for how they got into that house.” But Bukovinac in a statement said “the laws in question are federal laws enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice.”
PAAU brings together pro-life activists who also oppose capitalism. The group’s website describes abortion as a tool used by capitalists to “benefit their own bottom line.” Bukovinac and other PAAU activists frequently use the term the “abortion-industrial complex” to describe the government and industry interests that sustain abortion practices.
In a February interview, Bukovinac told WORLD that PAAU focuses on activism that makes headlines. “I just don’t see another way of really weakening the abortion-industrial complex,” she said. “This is the language of the left: the activism, uprisings for social justice. It means something to leftists, and when they don’t see any of that happening … they just don’t take it seriously.”
In an interview in November, Handy, the woman who had the babies’ remains in her home, told WORLD she was working to bring back the “social justice movement aspect of the pro-life movement.” Handy said she started sidewalk counseling outside of abortion facilities as a college student but dropped out of college to do it full time. She described her participation in “Red Rose Rescues,” demonstrations in which pro-life activists enter abortion facilities to pass out roses to women who have come for appointments and talk to them until police arrive. “I will sacrifice my freedom to have the chance to save another life,” she said.
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