FIRST ON THE DAILY SIGNAL — The Metropolitan Police Department backtracked Thursday evening, informing The Daily Signal that it is not, in fact, investigating abortionist Cesare Santangelo and his Foggy Bottom abortion clinic.
The police department had said Tuesday that it was investigating both Santangelo and Washington Surgi-Clinic, apparently related to the 2022 discovery of five preemie sized babies allegedly aborted in Santangelo’s clinic. Pro-life activists believe Santangelo brutally aborted the babies using illegal partial-birth abortion techniques.
On Thursday, however, the police department reached out to The Daily Signal to clarify that it is not actually investigating Santangelo, and to specifically say that the abortion clinic (which it called a “medical provider”), isn’t under investigation.
“For clarification, the Metropolitan Police Department is investigating the circumstances surrounding the discovery of five fetuses in a residence,” Public Information Officer Hugh Carew said.
“This case remains under investigation,” he added. “At this time, there is no investigation into the medical provider.”
The tone of the police department’s clarification matches that of Mayor Muriel Bowser, who has suggested that the only pertinent question is whether pro-life activist Lauren Handy tampered with fetal remains.
The back-and-forth follows news that a D.C. jury convicted five pro-life activists of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act when they sought to prevent the deaths of unborn babies by blocking women from accessing a D.C. abortion clinic in 2020.
One of these activists, Lauren Handy with the Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising, has said that she was motivated to stop abortions from occurring inside the clinic after she viewed an undercover video published by the pro-life group Live Action, which allegedly showed Santangelo discussing how he would allow babies to die if they were accidentally delivered during abortions.
Santangelo’s abortion clinic, Washington Surgi-Clinic, has been around since 1973 and aborts unborn babies up until 27 weeks of pregnancy, according to the clinic’s website.
In March 2022, Handy and her colleague Terrisa Bukovinac discovered the bodies of five preemie-sized aborted babies in a box of fetal remains outside the Foggy Bottom-based abortion facility. That box also contained over a hundred pulverized remains of first-trimester babies, they said.
The District does not have any laws that regulate how late during pregnancy a baby can be aborted. When the babies’ bodies were originally brought to light, D.C. police shrugged off the matter.
Ashan Benedict, the MPD’s executive assistant chief of police, went so far as to tell reporters in April 2022 that the babies appeared to have been aborted “in accordance with D.C. law.”
Police have repeatedly told The Daily Signal since then that the case is still “under investigation.” Authorities will not share whether autopsies have been performed on the babies’ remains.
The mayor’s office has completely stonewalled questions about the babies. Even the office of the chief medical examiner for the District of Columbia directs queries to the mayor’s office—specifically, to Dora Taylor-Lowe, who refuses to answer The Daily Signal’s requests for comment.
It remains unclear whether autopsies have been performed on the bodies of the five babies, whose bodies were photographed by Bukovinac. (Warning: These images are graphic and disturbing.) Some pro-lifers fear that the city may have gotten rid of them.
Yet, although D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser refuses to address the possibility that Santangelo was criminally aborting late-term babies in the nation’s capital, she did accuse Handy of “tampering with fetal remains” in an April 2022 letter to Republican lawmakers highlighting that Handy herself faced FACE Act charges for blocking the entrance to a D.C. abortion clinic in October 2020.
Handy’s involvement in the discovery of the babies, as well as her participation in the October 2020 “blockade,” according to Bowser, are potentially “serious violations of federal law.”
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