A Presbyterian minister and his wife asked the D.C. Medical Examiner for the bodies of five full-term aborted babies recovered by a progressive pro-life group after the U.S. Department of Justice advised the medical examiner to dispose of the remains.
On behalf of Rev. Patrick and Katie Mahoney, the American Center for Law and Justice sent a letter to Dr. Francisco J. Diaz, chief medical examiner for the District of Columbia, on Tuesday. A copy of the letter was provided to The Christian Post.
In the letter, ACLJ outlines the Mahoneys' request under D.C. Code § 3-413 that they be given the rights of next of kin for the five babies currently at the medical examiner's office. Despite the publicity surrounding the 2022 discovery of the remains, the document noted that no one has come forward to claim the babies.
The story of the discovery made headlines in March 2022 after the pro-life group Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising claimed to recover the bodies alongside 110 other human remains from the Washington Surgi-Clinic.
The group asserted that the five full-term babies may have been aborted in a manner that violated the law, and PAAU made repeated calls for an autopsy of the remains.
The organization was also in the news again last year after its director of activism, Lauren Handy, was found guilty, alongside several other pro-life activists, of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. The DOJ charged Handy and the other activists with violating the FACE Act after obstructing access to the Washington Surgi-Clinic in 2020.
The Mahoneys are now requesting that they be allowed to determine what to do with the remains as well as the location of their internment and funeral arrangements. The letter noted that Mahoney, the director of the Christian Defense Coalition, has been an ordained Reformed Presbyterian minister for 47 years. He has also presided over funerals and memorial services.
"Our hearts break as we consider this unspeakable betrayal of human rights and justice through late-term abortion violence against these five innocent children," Mahoney stated. "Our hope would first be these children are not destroyed, but remain as evidence in a potential federal crime of infanticide through partial-birth abortion."
"However, if the Washington, DC Medical Examiner decides to discard these innocent children, we would ask under DC code and law that they would be given to us so we could ensure they receive a proper and dignified burial," the minister continued. "It is critical we honor their lives and embrace the simple truth that all human life has value, purpose, and meaning."
The Department of Justice declined to comment on the situation. The D.C. Medical Examiner did not immediately respond to The Christian Post's request for comment.
As The Daily Signal reported Monday, Martin Cannon, senior counsel at Thomas More Society, confirmed that the medical examiner's office called to inform him that the DOJ had advised them not to continue holding onto the five babies' remains.
Cannon is one of the attorneys representing Handy after the DOJ charged the activist with violating the FACE Act.
"And the medical examiner's office accordingly tells me that if we don't have an order to the contrary, by the end of this week, a court order, they will dispose of the babies."
On Tuesday, PAAU Founder Terrisa Bukovinac shared on X that the group visited Capitol Hill this week to demand "immediate congressional action" regarding the remains. PAAU's requests included a call for Congress to issue letters to the D.C. Medical Examiner and Attorney General Merrick Garland, demanding that the preservation of the five babies' remains.
The group is also calling for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which PAAU hopes will lead to accountability for Washington Surgi-Clinic abortionist Cesare Santangelo.
"Every office visited today had been inundated with calls, texts, and tweets demanding justice for these children," Bukovinac stated. "Members of both the House and the Senate have vowed to take action. Thank you to everyone who's reached out, and keep the calls coming until they do!"