Cruz Says DC to Pay If It Disposes of Baby Remains

FIRST ON THE DAILY SIGNAL—Sen. Ted Cruz is accusing D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Metropolitan Police Chief Pamela Smith, and Chief Medical Examiner Francisco Diaz of demonstrating a “candid willingness to obstruct justice” in their refusal to investigate the deaths of five aborted, preemie-sized babies.

In a letter first obtained by The Daily Signal, the Texas Republican strongly warned D.C. officials that should authorities fail to preserve the bodies and conduct “timely autopsies,” the Senate Judiciary Committee will have “no choice” but to expand the issue into a full hearing featuring the Department of Justice and the Office of the D.C. Medical Examiner “as witnesses before the American public.”

To dispose of the babies’ bodies “before justice can be achieved” would be to “deny these five innocent victims justice and assume the cause and nature of these children’s deaths without conducting any investigation, without performing any autopsies, and without even affording these children a proper, respectful burial,” Cruz warned the D.C. officials.

Cruz was referring to the five babies allegedly aborted at Washington Surgi-Clinic by abortionist Cesare Santangelo. The D.C. medical examiner has had these babies’ remains in its possession for almost two years now. Pro-lifers suspect the babies may have been illegally aborted in violation of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act or the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act.

The Daily Signal reported late Monday that Thomas More Society lawyer Martin Cannon “got a call from the Medical Examiner’s Office indicating that the DOJ has advised them that there is no reason to keep those babies anymore.”

Cannon is representing pro-life activist Lauren Handy, who faces charges of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. Handy says the babies are important evidence in defending her from the DOJ’s charges.

The medical examiner’s office denied to The Daily Signal that it has been in contact with the DOJ, but has refused to address requests for further comment. The DOJ declined to comment at all. Cannon insists that his story is true.

Cruz stressed that the babies’ bodies warrant an investigation into their deaths due to the “unusually mature” nature of the fetal remains, particularly regarding whether they were “born alive and left to die.” He reminded the D.C. authorities, as he did in April 2022, that the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 makes it illegal for an abortionist to partially deliver a living child for the purpose of ending the baby’s life.

“As I previously explained to your offices, it is a grave injustice both that these children may very
well have been aborted in violation of federal law, and that the D.C. government—that Congress
oversees—remains unwilling to investigate the circumstances,” he said.

The senator added: “Despite the grotesque evidence of potentially illegal abortion procedures, the District of Columbia and Department of Justice authorities have consistently stonewalled inquiries into the deaths of the five aborted babies, with the D.C. police claiming the case remains ‘open’ and ‘under investigation’ as recently as August 2023, despite no meaningful progress or updates in over sixteen months.”

Cruz cited The Daily Signal’s reporting as he pointed out that Bowser has evaded, redirected, and refused to answer questions on the matter, while the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has not disclosed whether it has performed autopsies on the babies.

“Simultaneously,” he added, “while efforts to seek justice for these innocent lives have been thwarted at almost every conceivable turn, Mayor Bowser has aggressively characterized the charges facing peaceful pro-life activists like Lauren Handy, accusing her of ‘tampering with fetal remains,’ ‘blockad[ing]’ the entrance to a D.C. abortion clinic in October 2020, and committing ‘serious violations of federal law.’”

The Texas lawmaker has joined numerous efforts over the past several years to pressure both state and federal officials to investigate the case. His Thursday letter references a 2022 effort he joined, led by Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, calling on the DOJ and the FBI to preserve the babies’ bodies “as evidence for future investigations.”

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser attends a bipartisan gathering of mayors at the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ winter meeting in the East Room of the White House on Jan. 19. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

In his Thursday letter, Cruz emphasizes: “I write separately today to speak specifically to some of the oversight actions that justify this second and final preservation demand. Specifically, and while I understand that the DOJ is pressuring the D.C. Medical Examiner to dispose of the bodies, I am demanding in the strongest possible terms that you do not do so.”

“Furthermore,” he added, “I ask that Mayor Bowser and Police Chief Smith direct the Chief Medical Examiner Diaz to conduct an autopsy of each of these five children’s bodies.”

The senator reminded D.C. officials that there is an election coming, predicting it is “highly likely” that in November control of the Senate will shift to the GOP.

“At that time, when I am Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, I will schedule hearings on likely violations, like those at issue with these five children, such as the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 and the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act,” he warned. “These hearings will also no doubt scrutinize the behavior of those who obstructed Senate investigatory efforts by willfully destroying evidence despite not one, but two, demands to preserve evidence.”

Bowser and the Metropolitan Police Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Daily Signal.

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