FIRST ON THE DAILY SIGNAL— Republican congressional lawmakers are calling on the Department of Justice to “halt” any efforts to discard the bodies of five aborted babies in the District of Columbia, warning that these babies may have been illegally aborted.

“We demand that you immediately halt plans to dispose of these children, as they may well be evidence of a crime,” the lawmakers wrote in a Wednesday letter first obtained by The Daily Signal. “We further demand you stop stonewalling and finally conduct a thorough investigation into the deaths of these children to determine what truly happened, and to hold any lawbreakers or murderers accountable. At the end of this investigation, we encourage a respectful burial of the babies.”

That letter was spearheaded by Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Texas, and co-sponsored by 44 of his colleagues, including Reps. Chris Smith of New Jersey, Jim Banks of Indiana, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, and Mary Miller of Illinois.

The lawmakers are referring to the remains of “the Five,” five aborted preemie-sized babies recovered from the Washington Surgi-Clinic in the District of Columbia in 2022. The babies have been in the possession of the D.C. medical examiner for years, and the city has stonewalled any investigations into the circumstances of their deaths.

Pro-lifers fear that the babies may have been aborted in violation of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, which bans brutal partial-birth abortion techniques, such as snipping the neck of a baby partially out of the womb, and the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which bans physicians from ending the lives of babies born alive in botched abortions.

The lawmakers echoed those concerns.

“Two years have passed since these victims were discovered in early 2022, and yet, despite calls from Congress and nongovernment entities, there still have not been autopsies performed or an investigation conducted into this matter,” they wrote.

“It has now come to our attention that there are reports that the Department of Justice has instructed the Medical Examiner’s Office to dispose of the babies’ bodies,” the letter noted, referring to the Thomas More Society’s claims that the D.C. medical examiner was in communication with the DOJ about disposing of the babies.

“As Members of Congress, we would like to remind you that the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which Congress passed and President [George W.] Bush signed into law in 2002, guarantees that every infant born alive, including an infant who survives an abortion procedure, is considered a person under federal law,” the lawmakers added. “An investigation must be conducted on what happened in the Washington Surgi-Clinic to these children to determine if a crime was committed.”

The Daily Signal reported late Monday that Thomas More Society lawyer Martin Cannon said he “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, who is representing pro-life activists charged by the DOJ, told The Daily Signal that “the Medical Examiner’s Office accordingly tells me that if we don’t have an order to the contrary, by the end of this week, a court order, they will dispose of the babies.”

The DOJ declined to comment on the matter to The Daily Signal, but the medical examiner’s general counsel, Rod Adams, denied to The Daily Signal that the medical examiner had communicated with the DOJ. Adams has not answered multiple requests for further comment.

Cannon insisted that Adams had, in fact, told Cannon that he had communicated with the DOJ.

“It’s pretty plain to me that Mr. Adams has communicated with the federal government during the case to inform them or get their input on my conversations with him,” he said.

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