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(WABNEWS) — Police say they found five fetuses in a Washington home on Wednesday, days after charges were filed against several anti-abortion activists, including a woman believed to live in the home where they were discovered. fetuses, on charges of blocking access to a reproductive health clinic in 2020.
Officers were called to the house in the Capitol Hill area “to investigate a lead regarding possible biohazardous material,” the Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement. When they entered the house, they discovered five fetuses, police said.RELATED
Washington City Police have not announced any arrests in connection with the fetuses, but said the investigation is ongoing.
WABNEWS affiliate WUSA was on site of the events and reported that the house was occupied by Lauren Handy, an anti-abortion activist. WABNEWS has not independently verified that Handy was in the house.
The WUSA team saw police removing evidence in red biohazard bags and coolers. WUSA reported that Handy refused to speak to them on camera, but told them he expected the raid to happen “sooner or later.” He would not tell WUSA what was in the refrigerators that were removed from the house, but he said “people would freak out when they found out.”
Police said the fetuses were collected by the Washington City Medical Examiner’s Office.
Washington Police Deputy Chief Executive Ashan Benedict told reporters Thursday that the fetuses were aborted in accordance with district law.
Accused for allegedly blocking the entrance to a clinic
Separately, Handy and eight other anti-abortion activists were indicted last week by a federal grand jury for allegedly blocking access in 2020 to a Washington clinic that provides abortion services.
Handy and the other defendants “conspired” to obstruct the clinic on Oct. 22, 2020, and to threaten or intimidate clinic patients and employees, according to the indictment.
The defendants traveled to Washington from other states and used deception and force to gain access to the clinic, according to the indictment. “The conspirators brought tools to barricade themselves inside the clinic, including ropes and chains.”
Days before the incident, prosecutors allege Handy called the clinic and “falsely presented herself as a woman named ‘Hazel Jenkins’ in need of reproductive health services, and made an appointment for 9 a.m.,” on Oct. 22. according to court documents.
One of the group’s members, Jonathan Darnel, while out of the clinic, created an event on his Facebook account called “Nobody Dies Today,” according to the indictment.
When the clinic opened its doors, the defendants “forcefully pushed open the clinic door to enter the waiting room,” according to the indictment. The forced entry allegedly caused a nurse to “trip and twist her ankle.”
Once inside the clinic, the defendants began blocking the clinic doors and treatment areas, according to the indictment.
When a patient arrived, the “conspirators prevented her from entering the treatment area of the clinic.” The indictment says Handy stood at the clinic’s main entrance door “and blocked people trying to get into the waiting room.”
Prosecutors say Darnel began livestreaming on Facebook, saying, “We have people physically intervening with their bodies to prevent women from coming into the clinic to murder their children.”
The defendants each face one count of conspiracy against rights and one count of violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinics Act.
“If convicted of the crimes, each of the defendants faces a maximum of 11 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $350,000,” the Justice Department said in a statement Wednesday. Press release.
The anti-abortion group Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU) lists Handy as a member of their leadership team on their website.
The PAAU tweeted on Wednesday: “This morning, PAAU Activism Director Lauren Handy was arrested and is currently being held by the FBI in connection with a two-year-old rescue in Washington DC.”
The group he tweeted again on Thursday: “We will address the allegations surrounding the 5 deceased children found in Lauren Handy’s apartment at a press conference in Washington. Tune in Tuesday at 11:30am ET.”
WABNEWS contacted lawyers for Handy and Darnel. There were no lawyers for the other six accused persons, as well as with the PAAU.