A coalition of 23 GOP members of Congress demanded on April 6 that Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Metropolitan Police Department carry out an investigation into the deaths of five infants in Washington who may have been killed in violation of federal abortion laws.
The controversy began after activists with Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU) said they obtained a box containing 115 aborted fetuses from Curtis Bay Medical Waste Services outside of a Washington abortion clinic, and that there were indications that five abortions were not done legally.
They “were so advanced in their gestational age and the patterns of their wounds suggest violent federal crimes,” Lauren Handy, director of activism for the pro-life group, told reporters during a press conference.
Specifically, the five babies are suspected to have been killed by partial-birth abortion, an extremely controversial abortion procedure that allows doctors to deliver and then end the child’s life outside of the womb.
Under the standard set out in the 1973 case Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruled that once babies reached the point of “viability,” or the ability to live independently outside of the womb, restrictions on abortion were proper and aligned with the state’s interest in protecting life.
PAAU’s discovery of the bodies caused an outcry of horror among many conservative and pro-life activists, with posts on the issue garnering thousands of views and shares on various social media platforms.
Now, a coalition of 23 Republicans—including prominent lawmakers such as Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas)—are demanding that police in the area carry out a more thorough investigation into the infants’ deaths.
“As Members of Congress, we have an obligation to conduct oversight over the District of Columbia (D.C.), to ensure D.C. upholds laws enacted by Congress, particularly those enacted to protect and uphold the sanctity of human life,” the coalition wrote in a letter addressed to Mayor Bowser and Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee.
“Instead of ensuring that the horrific deaths of these children were properly investigated,” the letter states, “Metropolitan Police made the assumption that each child died as the result of a legal abortion.
“It is our understanding that the Metropolitan Police made this assumption without conducting any medical evaluations. We also understand from press reports that the D.C. medical examiner does not plan to perform autopsies on the children. This is completely unacceptable.
“While other horrific methods of abortion unfortunately remain legal for the time being, killing a child through a partial-birth abortion is a crime under federal law. Under the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, a partial-birth abortion occurs when a physician partially delivers a living child for the purpose of performing an overt act that intentionally takes the life of the child.”
They also noted that the partial-birth abortion ban was upheld by the Supreme Court in Gonzalez v. Carhart in 2007.
“Based on evidence collected at the time of recovery and photos that have been publicly shared, all five of these children appear to have developed well past the point of viability, and likely suffered severely painful abortion procedures, though without an autopsy, it is not known how each child died,” the letter continued.
“For example, one baby girl has significant damage to her head, with deep lacerations at the back of the neck, and may have been victim of an illegal partial birth abortion. Another baby was found in its amniotic sac and could have been born alive.
“These five children, like all children, have inherent value and deserved better than abortion—they deserved life,” the coalition wrote. “But at a minimum, they deserve to have their deaths investigated to ensure that no D.C. or federal laws were broken.
“In light of this information, we demand that a thorough investigation is conducted into the death of each child. In order to accomplish such investigation, we request and fully expect the city to conduct autopsies on the children and preserve all collected evidence.
“Finally,” they added, “at the conclusion of such examinations, we urge the city to properly and respectfully bury the babies.”
Affixed to the bottom of the letter were several specific questions regarding whether authorities would honor the request, and the lawmakers reiterated their demand for a proper burial for the victims.
Bowser’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. A Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an email that the case remains under active investigation and that due to the probe, the agency is unable to discuss specifics.
The issue comes as battle lines are being drawn across the nation, with many red states—which have remained opposed to the practice since Roe v. Wade restricted the states’ right to ban it—growing bolder in opposition to abortion, leading to the passage of several “heartbeat bills,” which ban abortion when a child’s heartbeat becomes detectable.
In blue states such as Colorado—where Gov. Jared Polis on April 5 signed a bill into law removing all restrictions on abortion—Democrats have sought to strengthen access to abortion and relax many remaining restrictions.
The conservative-dominated Supreme Court, for its part, has shown a willingness to relax the standards laid out in Roe v. Wade, returning the power to regulate abortions back to the states.
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.