Police say they found the remains of five human foetuses in the home of an anti-abortion activist in Washington, DC. That activist, according to her advocacy group, is Lauren Handy.
Here’s what we know so far.
An anti-abortion “progressive”
Ms Handy, 28, is the director of activism at Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU), according to the group’s social media. PAAU’s website describes her as a “Catholic anarcho mutualist credited with reviving direct action among young anti-abortion people.”
“Her outreach provides direct aid to those in need, and creates trans inclusive spaces within the pro-life movement,” the site says.
In an Instagram post following the foetuses’ discovery, PAAU praised Ms Handy as a brave activist and asked supporters for help paying her legal bills.
“Rescuers like Lauren … are inspiring a whole new generation of activists to overcome their fears of sanctions and to take heroic direct action on behalf of the unborn,” the group said. “Please help Lauren! She is a hero!”
On Wednesday, 30 March, Ms Handy was indicted over an October incident in which she and eight other activists are accused of storming an abortion clinic, knocking over an employee, and blocking people from entering the facility.
In “a clinic blockade that was directed by Handy,” the DOJ said, the nine defendants “forcefully entered the clinic and set about blockading two clinic doors using their bodies, furniture, chains and ropes.”
Each of the defendants has been charged with conspiracy against rights and violating the US Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. If convicted, Ms Handy and her collaborators could face up to 11 years in prison and a $350,000 fine.
None of the defendants have been convicted of any wrongdoing, and are presumed innocent until proven guilty. The Independent has reached out to Ms Handy’s lawyer, Mary Petras, for comment.
On the same day Ms Handy was indicted, DC police raided her home on a tip that “potential biohazard material” could be inside.
The next day, the Metropolitan Police Department announced that it had found five human foetuses at the address.
“On Wednesday, March 30, 2022, at approximately 12:30pm, MPD responded to the 400 block of 6th Street, SE, to investigate a tip regarding potential bio-hazard material at the location,” a spokesperson for the department told The Independent. “Upon further investigation, MPD located five fetuses inside a residence at the location. The fetuses were collected by the DC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. This is currently a pending investigation.”
When I asked anti-abortion activist Lauren Handy what homicide detectives pulled out of her house Wednesday, she only said, “people will freak out when they hear.” @DCPoliceDept now says it found 5 fetuses. @wusa9 pic.twitter.com/9Uvm7JY9dQ
— Nathan Baca (@NathanBacaTV) March 31, 2022
No charges have yet been announced with regard to the foetuses. At a press conference, MPD Executive Assistant Chief Ashan Benedict said they appeared to have been aborted legally.
“There doesn’t appear to be anything criminal about that – except for how they got into that house,” Mr Benedict said.
PAAU has said it will reveal more about the foetuses on Tuesday.
“We will address the claims surrounding the 5 deceased children found at Lauren Handy’s apartment at a press conference in DC,” the group said on Instagram. “Tune in on Tuesday at 11:30am EST. Don’t miss it.”
The Independent has reached out to PAAU for more information.