Progressive activists continue push for justice 1 year after recovery of 5 full-term aborted babies

Demonstrators lay on the ground in front of the D.C. Board of Medicine office in Washington, D.C. on March 21, 2023. The Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising is holding a weeklong series of events to call for "justice" for the five full-term aborted babies discovered by activists Terrisa Bukovinac and Lauren Handy last March.  | The Christian Post/Nicole Alcindor

WASHINGTON — The progressive pro-life group that recovered the bodies of five, full-term aborted babies from an abortion clinic in the nation's capital last year demonstrated outside the D.C. Board of Medicine Tuesday, demanding regulators revoke abortionist Cesare Santangelo's license to dispense medication.

The pro-life group Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising held the press conference and demonstration as part of a weeklong series of events to raise awareness and call for "justice" in response to five aborted, full-term babies discovered by activists Terrisa Bukovinac and Lauren Handy last March. The activists believe the babies may have been aborted in manners that violate federal law. 

On March 25, 2022, Bukovinac and Handy recovered the remains of the five babies alongside the boxes of 110 additional human remains while protesting outside of the Washington Surgi-Clinic. The pair claims that they approached the driver of a truck labeled Curtis Bay Medical Waste Services as he was loading the boxes of remains onto the vehicle, who then handed the case over to them. 

During the Tuesday press conference, PAAU founder Bukovinac was among several pro-life activists who spoke about Santangelo and raised concerns about the Washington Surgi-Clinic's practices.

Other speakers included Kristin Turner, executive director of Pro-Life San Francisco and PAAU's communications director, and Pro-Life San Francisco Executive Coordinator Robert Byrd. Multiple pro-life volunteers and other members of PAAU also spoke at the conference.

Demonstrators speak at the Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising's press conference and demonstration outside the D.C. Board of Medicine office in Washington, D.C. on March 21, 2023. PAAU held a weeklong series of events to raise awareness and call for "justice" about the five dead full-term aborted babies discovered by activists Terrisa Bukovinac and Lauren Handy last March.  | The Christian Post/ Nicole Alcindor

Bukovinac said Santangelo has been "embroiled" in lawsuits, accusing the abortionist of being responsible for the death of at least one female patient. She also stated that three of the five full-term babies she and Handy recovered "appear to be victims of violent federal crimes."

Bukovinac likened Santangelo to Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortionist found responsible for the deaths of one woman and multiple infants born-alive at an unsanitary facility he operated for years. The abortionists' crimes were uncovered by accident in 2010 during an unrelated drug raid.

"How long are we going to go without justice?" Bukovinac asked. 

The Christian Post contacted Santangelo's clinic seeking comment on PAAU's push to delicense Santangelo. A representative who answered the phone hung up when presented with the media inquiry.

Turner, who also compared Santangelo to Gosnell, called him "the butcher of D.C." She highlighted the case of Rebecca Charland, who died in 2010 after Santangelo performed a dilation and evacuation procedure on her.

The pro-life activist argued that institutions such as the D.C. Board of Medicine's failure to act are a reason why the actions of abortionists like Gosnell and Santangelo often go unchecked. 

"If the D.C. Board of Medicine does not revoke [Santangelo's] license to dispense medication, the blood will be on their hands," she stated. 

The D.C. Board of Medicine did not immediately respond to The Christian Post's request for comment.

According to court documents shared by the pro-life group Operation Rescue, Charland died after her obstetrician directed her to Santangelo and the Washington Surgi-Clinic. 

She suffered from a condition known as antiphospholipid syndrome, which can lead to blood clots, something that caused Charland to miscarry during her pregnancy's second trimester. She visited the clinic to have her deceased child removed. 

An autopsy revealed that skin cells, hair that usually covers a baby's head in the womb, which the coroner called "fetal debris," had reached Charland's bloodstream and entered her lungs.

In the lawsuit, filed in May 2011 by the woman's family, Santangelo was accused of ignoring the woman's medical condition and failing to provide informed consent, in addition to multiple allegations of malpractice that led to Charland's death. 

According to another set of court documents published by Operation Rescue, the lawsuit was eventually dismissed in January 2012. The pro-life group has published copies of other lawsuits filed against Santangelo on its website

"If you claim to care about women, if you claim to care about their health, even if you're pro-choice, you should know that what's happening here is wrong," Turner told CP Tuesday. "It's not OK. It's violence, and the D.C. Board of Medicine needs to revoke his ability to dispense medication." 

After the conference, the activists entered the front entryway of the D.C. Board of Medicine building but were pushed out by security before they could fully enter the building. 

With security and multiple members of the D.C. Police Department watching, the group proceeded to do a "die-in" outside of the D.C. Board of Medicine, with the activists lying down outside of the building and simulating being dead as a form of protest. 

Bukovinac stated that the event's purpose was to "loudly and boldly" demonstrate to inform the public, Congress and the people who work at institutions such as the D.C. Board of Medicine about Santangelo's actions and the victims of abortion.

"Our nation is embroiled in this battle over abortion right now, and the next step for the pro-life movement is clearly to pass a national ban on abortion or some kind of late-term ban," Bukovinac said, arguing that Santangelo's actions prove why such a ban is necessary.

The pro-life atheist stressed that it's "important" to inform those in power and give "visibility to Santangelo's victims," particularly the five babies discovered last year. She stated that doing so would help provide cover for their decision to pass a ban. 

Bukovinac revealed that PAAU is meeting with the office of Republican Rep. Anna Paulina Luna of Florida this week. The group also hopes to meet with the office of Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas next week. Last June, Cruz joined PAAU activists for a press conference outside the Department of Justice to demand that the DOJ investigate the five fetuses.

Other Republican senators who have called for an investigation into the deaths of the five babies include Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and James Lankford, R- Okla. The pair were joined by several Republicans in sending a bicameral letter in April 2022 to Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Chief of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department Robert Contee and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland calling for an autopsy to determine whether the abortion procedures committed on the babies violated the law.

"We are demanding hearings for these babies," Bukovinac said. "We need Santangelo to testify under oath, and we need to give these babies their day in court before the pro-life movement is really going to be able to have any other significant victories." 

The D.C. Medical Examiner, which still has the remains of the five babies, has agreed to allow a private pathologist to examine their remains. Bukovinac stated that PAAU is "confident" the examination will happen, but she argued that it would not be enough. 

"We need justice, and that would just be the beginning," the pro-life atheist said, saying that she expects the D.C. government and abortion proponents in Congress to attempt to "silence" them and "obfuscate the truth."

"But we're not giving up," Bukovinac said. "We know the battle that is in front of us, and we're going anyways." 

Despite being a political independent, Byrd believes that people's political preferences shouldn't prevent them from working alongside individuals who have different values when it comes to an issue like abortion. 

"It is imperative for people to come together from across the aisle when we have a shared goal," he told CP. "No matter what the shared goal is, we ought to be willing to team up with people that have other disagreements with us." 

As WUSA9 reported last March, D.C. police officers found the remains at Handy's residence that same month after receiving a tip about potential biohazard material at the pro-life activist's home. The investigation into Handy's home was unrelated to a federal indictment she's currently facing for blocking the entrance to an abortion clinic in the nation's capitol on Oct.22, 2020. 

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follower her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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