The Metropolitan Police Department confirmed to The Daily Signal on Tuesday that the department is currently investigating Cesare Santangelo and his Foggy Bottom abortion clinic.
The confirmation follows news that a D.C. jury has convicted five pro-life activists of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act when they sought to prevent the deaths of unborn babies by blocking women from accessing a D.C. abortion clinic in 2020.
One of these activists, Lauren Handy with the Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising, has said that she was motivated to stop abortions from occurring inside the clinic after she viewed an undercover video published by the pro-life group Live Action, which allegedly showed Santangelo discussing how he would allow babies to die if they were accidentally delivered during abortions.
When the Live Action investigator asked Santangelo whether the baby might “move” if “it” were born alive, the abortionist allegedly told her, “That’s why I try and sever the umbilical cord first, and we wait for that to stop pulsing, and this way the fetus is expired first, so it doesn’t.”
“Has it ever survived?” the Live Action investigator asked. Santangelo responded, “No, not here.” He added: “Usually at this point in your pregnancy, it is too early to survive. Usually, it will expire shortly after birth.”
“But if it did, what would happen?” the investigator asked him. “Would I have to take it home, or like—”
“I mean, technically, legally, we would be obligated to help it, you know, to survive,” he told her, according to the video. “But you know, it probably wouldn’t. It’s all in how vigorously you do things to help a fetus survive at this point.”
“When you have a pregnancy that is 23, 24 weeks … if you do everything possible to help it survive, there’s a maybe a 20%-30% chance that it would survive,” he said. “If you don’t do anything then, you know, the chances are much, much less.”
He added that “there are things you can do” to make sure the baby does not survive.
“Obviously, you’re here for a certain procedure, and if your pregnancy were—let’s say you went into labor, the membranes ruptured, and you delivered before we got to the termination of the procedure here,” he continued. “Then we would do things. We would not help it.”
“We wouldn’t intubate, let’s say,” Santangelo explained, adding that he “wouldn’t do any extra” to help the dying baby and comparing letting the baby die to letting a terminally ill person die. “Like a ‘do not resuscitate’ order.”
If the mother were in a Virginia hospital and went into labor, medical professionals would do everything possible to help her baby survive, Santangelo said. “We wouldn’t here,” he said.
“That’s happened before,” Santangelo added, according to the video. “We’ve had patients that, you know, on the second day of the laminaria, they got some contractions, and they panicked, and they were in Virginia at the hospital. They went to the hospital, because they had some pain, instead of calling me.”
“And the hospital helped them to deliver,” he added. “Which was the stupidest thing they could have done … and they did everything they [inaudible] have done, which was help them to deliver.”
Santangelo’s abortion clinic, Washington Surgi-Clinic, has been around since 1973 and aborts unborn babies up until 27 weeks of pregnancy, according to the clinic’s site.
In March 2022, Handy and her colleague Terrisa Bukovinac discovered the bodies of five preemie-sized aborted babies in a box of fetal remains outside the Foggy Bottom-based abortion facility. That box also contained over a hundred pulverized remains of first-trimester babies, they said.
The District does not have any laws that regulate how late during pregnancy a baby can be aborted. When the babies’ bodies were originally brought to light, D.C. police shrugged off the matter.
Ashan Benedict, the MPD’s executive assistant chief of police, went so far as to tell reporters in April 2022 that the babies appeared to have been aborted “in accordance with D.C. law.”
Police have repeatedly told The Daily Signal since then that the case is still “under investigation.” Authorities will not share whether autopsies have been performed on the babies’ remains. The MPD confirmed in early August that the investigation is still open.
But it was not until this week that MPD confirmed to The Daily Signal that Santangelo himself, and his clinic, are under investigation.
The mayor’s office has completely stonewalled questions about the babies. Even the office of the chief medical examiner for the District of Columbia directs queries to the mayor’s office—specifically, to Dora Taylor-Lowe, who refuses to answer The Daily Signal’s requests for comment.
It remains unclear whether autopsies have been performed on the bodies of the five babies, whose bodies were photographed by Bukovinac. (Warning: These images are graphic and disturbing.) Some pro-lifers fear that the city may have gotten rid of them.
Yet, although D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser refuses to address the possibility that Santangelo was criminally aborting late-term babies in the nation’s capital, she did accuse Handy of “tampering with fetal remains” in an April 2022 letter to Republican lawmakers highlighting that Handy herself faced FACE Act charges for blocking the entrance to a D.C. abortion clinic in October 2020.
Handy’s involvement in the discovery of the babies, as well as her participation in the October 2020 “blockade,” according to Bowser, are potentially “serious violations of federal law.”
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