WASHINGTON (OSV News) — Lawyers for Catholic pro-life activist Lauren Handy, who is facing a lengthy prison term for violating the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, are seeking to halt the destruction of the bodies of five unborn babies that Handy recovered from a Washington abortion clinic in 2022.
In a letter to Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Martin Cannon, senior counsel for the Chicago-based Thomas More Society, asked Jordan to help stop the scheduled destruction of the remains and investigate their abortion deaths as evidence of a federal crime.
“I feel strongly that a congressional investigation is imperative here,” Cannon wrote.
Handy recovered the remains of the unborn babies from a medical waste truck driver outside Washington Surgi-Clinic and believed they were the result of full-term abortions.
In the letter, Cannon asserted that “the age and condition of the deceased newborns raise serious questions about whether they were legally aborted,” and the body of evidence makes it “more likely than not that some babies” at the facility are “in fact born alive and left to die.”
Handy was convicted Aug. 29 under the FACE Act for her role in leading the Oct. 22, 2020, “lock and block” clinic blockade of the Washington Surgi-Clinic, which was livestreamed over Facebook. The last of the 10 defendants was convicted Nov. 16.
Adopted in 1994, the FACE Act imposes serious penalties on those convicted of “violent, threatening, damaging, and obstructive conduct” that interferes with access to health care providers. While it has often been applied to abortion clinics, the Justice Department is also using it to prosecute attacks on pregnancy help centers, charging four people in January 2023 under the FACE Act for vandalizing Florida pregnancy resource centers and intimidating their staff.
Jailed in Alexandria, Virginia, Handy and her fellow convicted activists face up to 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine up to $250,000 each. Sentencing is expected this spring.
Handy gained international attention from an April 2022 press conference where she revealed that she had recovered the corpses of the five unborn children in the prior month — which she had stored in a refrigerator — from a box of 115 fetal bodies obtained from a medical waste truck at Washington Surgi-Clinic.
The five bodies appeared to be from late-stage abortions, and were then given to the District of Columbia’s medical examiner in the hopes of determining whether any laws were violated. But no autopsies were performed.
The rest received a burial presided over by a Catholic priest.