An anti-abortion zealot under investigation after five fetuses were found inside her home last week debuted a bizarre explanation for the gruesome discovery on Tuesday: the fetuses, she claimed, were among over 100 others recovered at an abortion clinic in Washington.
So far, only five fetuses have actually been recovered by police. And the story was quickly and vigorously disputed by a company ensnared in the controversy, which exploded after the fringe activist, Lauren Handy, was arrested last week for blocking people seeking services at a D.C. abortion clinic.
At a crowded Tuesday press conference, activists—including Randall Terry, founder of the extremist anti-abortion group Operation Rescue—said they wished to set the record straight about the fetuses that made national headlines last week.
“During the five days they were under my stewardship, the 115 victims of abortion violence were given funeral mass for upbaptized children and 110… were given a proper burial in a private cemetery,” said Handy, the director of activism at the group Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising.
Handy claimed that on March 25, she and Terrisa Bukovinac, her group’s founder and executive director, had gone to Washington Surgi-Clinic to protest abortions. There, they said, they found a medical waste truck driver and asked him if they could take one of the boxes he was loading outside, arguing that they were filled with “dead babies” and promising to give them a “proper burial.”
The driver’s employer, Curtis Bay Medical Waste Services, has denied the group’s account, stating that the employee took three boxes from the reproductive health center and delivered them to the group’s incineration facility. “At no time did the Curtis Bay employee hand over any of these packages to the PAAU or other third party, and any allegations made otherwise are false,” the company added in a statement.
After what she described as a mass “burial” at an undisclosed location, Handy claimed she ultimately “arranged for the medical examiner to pick up” the five fetuses, alleging they had wounds consistent with a violent crime. Both Handy and Bukovinac said they even tried—unsuccessfully—to find a private pathologist to examine the fetuses. The medical examiner’s office did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast request for comment.
The wild turn comes after the Metropolitan Police Department told The Daily Beast an officer discovered five fetuses while responding to a tip “regarding potential biohazard material” at Handy’s home last Wednesday. Police declined to comment further on Handy and the group’s latest allegations this week, but reiterated that the case “remains under active investigation.”
Police Executive Assistant Chief Ashan Benedict confirmed in a press conference that the fetuses “were aborted in accordance with D.C. law” and that authorities were “not investigating this incident along those lines.”
The D.C. saga was playing out as far-right activists and lawmakers nationwide waged war on abortion rights, successfully passing extreme restrictions on access in states like Texas and Mississippi. On Tuesday, a new measure purporting to make providing almost any abortion a felony cleared the state legislature in Oklahoma.
Handy was outside her home as officers brought out coolers containing the fetuses last week. Though she declined to comment in detail, she told WUSA9, “People will freak out when they hear.”
The fetus discovery came on the same day Handy was indicted with eight other anti-abortion protesters after allegedly invading a D.C. health center and streaming it on Facebook in 2020. Handy pleaded not guilty to the charges this week.