An anti-abortion activist who was arrested last week after officers found five fetuses in her Washington D.C. apartment said they were among 115 she was allowed to take from a medical waste transportation company outside a D.C. clinic to give them a “proper burial.”
Lauren Handy, 28, an activist, self-proclaimed “Catholic anarchist” and the director of activism for a group called Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising, defended her actions in a news conference on Tuesday. She is one of nine anti-abortion activists charged in an indictment accusing the group of blocking access to an abortion clinic in October 2020.
The group claims that Handy and PAAU founder and executive director Terrisa Bukovinac went to the Washington Surgi-Clinic to protest abortions on March 25 when they spotted a Curtis Bay Medical Waste Services driver loading boxes into a truck. They claim the driver told them there were “dead babies” inside the boxes and gave them the go ahead to take one of the boxes after they promised to give the fetuses a “proper burial.”
The women said they brought the aborted fetuses to Handy’s apartment before 110 of them were buried with the help of a local priest.
They say 5 fetuses–which they named Christopher, Angel, Harriet, Holly and Phoenix– were more developed and they considered them to be evidence of violations of federal laws, including the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, which bans certain methods to terminate pregnancies starting at 12 weeks, according to The New York Times.
They claimed the fetuses showed signs of injuries and contacted police to pick up those stored in Handy’s home.
Curtis Bay Medical Waste Services denied the activists claim, NYT reports.
“On March 25, a Curtis Bay employee took custody of three packages from the Washington Surgery Center (Washington Surgi-Clinic) and delivered all of them to Curtis Bay’s incineration facility,” the company said. “The driver did not hand packages over to the protesters or anyone else.”
“Any allegations made otherwise are false,”the company added.
Police is still investigating how the group acquired the fetuses.
Handy and the eight co-defendants were charged with conspiracy against rights and violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, known as the FACE Act. She pleaded not guilty on Monday.
“I don’t believe I did anything wrong,” Handy said. “We try to rescue a baby on a particular day, and we try to let the chips fall where they may.”
If convicted, they could each face up to 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release and fines of $350,000.