Republican lawmakers and pro-life activists gathered Wednesday on Capitol Hill to call for transparency and clarity regarding the deaths of “The Five,” preemie-sized aborted babies whose bodies are in the possession of Washington, D.C., officials.

Pro-life activist Terrisa Bukovinac, the founder of the Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising and the co-discoverer of “The Five,” spoke out on Wednesday at the House Triangle, as did other pro-life activists, such as Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America and the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, a pro-life activist who has asked the city to allow him to give the babies a respectful burial.

Mahoney said that he and his wife, who oversaw a memorial service for babies killed by notorious abortionist Kermit Gosnell, have been fighting for the babies for the past two years, even going to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s house with a large screen to show the babies in front of her home. Gosnell, convicted of killing three babies and a pregnant mother, is currently serving life without parole in prison.

“Forgetting the dead is akin to killing them all over,” Mahoney said, quoting Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel. “We want to ensure that they are not just thrown in some sort of pauper’s grave as discarded trash or something that has no value. We’re working with the Archdiocese [of Washington] and their attorney. Our hope would be, after the autopsy, that we would have a very moving and powerful service; hopefully, at the [National] Cathedral, and then they would be buried here in Washington, D.C.”

The press conference was led by Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, who is chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government, and Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., who is chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Federal Government Surveillance.

In an interview following the press conference, Roy told The Daily Signal that he and Biggs are trying to use their subcommittee positions to highlight the issue and “shame these folks into having to do what is right.”

“We shouldn’t have to do that,” he added. “But Congress has jurisdiction over the District of Columbia. We need to exercise that jurisdiction. Now look, getting anything through this House and Senate, into the White House isn’t easy. But we can use our megaphones, and we can highlight the issues, and hopefully, we can get justice for these five, and at a minimum, we can make sure that we can use these precious lives to try to stop this in the future.”

Biggs and Roy had sent a letter last week to Bowser and the D.C. police chief calling on them to preserve the remains of “The Five.” The D.C. Medical Examiner‘s Office has had those babies’ remains, recovered from a D.C. abortion clinic, in its possession for almost two years now. Pro-lifers believe 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 last week that Thomas More Society lawyer Martin Cannon “got a call from the Medical Examiner’s Office indicating that the [Justice Department] 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.

On Friday, after many calls from lawmakers for D.C. officials to stop the disposal of the babies’ remains, the D.C. medical examiner told the American Center for Law and Justice that it will not immediately dispose of the bodies of “The Five.”

The medical examiner did not give the ACLJ a new timeline for the babies’ disposal, but it did refer to a long queue of people and organizations who have been making demands on the medical examiner, such as the slew of lawmakers who have demanded that Office of Chief Medical Examiner retain the remains.

Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., was also present at the press conference on Wednesday. Following the presser, she shared with The Daily Signal that she also is engaged in helping the babies receive a proper burial.

“We have received word from friends of ours in the community who have stepped up to cover the costs of caskets for the five babies to give them a respectful burial,” she said. “These children deserve justice and a dignified funeral.”

As a new mother, Luna said, she is both heartbroken and enraged that there has been “little to no movement on getting justice for the brutality and inhumanity they were treated with.”

“Lauren Handy, Terrisa Bukovinac, and the others who found these children should be commended for their bravery in finding these babies,” she said. “Congress needs to demand an investigation into this whole incident. D.C. and [abortionist] Cesar Santangelo cannot get away with this, and there needs to be full retribution for their crimes.”

Luna noted that Santangelo has multiple allegations of medical malpractice and was accused, in one lawsuit, of bungling the removal of a baby so badly that fetal debris ended up in the lungs of the mother, who died.

“The ‘doctor’ who broke federal law was sued by the family of a young woman, who he so brutally mangled that she died,” Luna said. “They found fetal tissue in her lungs … .”

Jamie Dangers, the legislative director for SBA Pro-Life America, emphasized the names of each of “The Five” in a statement Wednesday.

“Angel, Christopher, Harriet, Holly and Phoenix are five children, better known as the ‘D.C. Five’, whose lives were cut short at a late-term abortion center, just blocks from the White House,” she said. “These children are the faces of the pro-abortion Left’s ‘reproductive freedom.’”

“As a country, we cannot turn a blind eye to these barbaric abortions happening in our nation’s capital—where abortions are unlimited through all nine months—and across the country,” Dangers added. “These children should be vibrant two-year-olds, but instead they are lying in a morgue waiting for justice.”

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