Five sets of fetal remains found at US anti-abortion activist’s home

Lauren Handy (28), a self-styled ‘Catholic anarchist’, leads Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising

Five sets of human fetal remains were recovered from the Washington DC home of an anti-abortion activist after a raid, the capital’s Metropolitan police department confirmed.

The activist, Lauren Handy (28), is a leader of the group Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU) and has described herself as a “Catholic anarchist” in the past.

Local television station WUSA9 reported remains were carried out in red biohazard bags. Ms Handy’s only comment at the time was: “People will freak out when they hear”.

Authorities have not disclosed the source of the fetal remains. Ms Handy also claimed on Twitter to be inspired to “liberate” fetal remains “from med waste companies and give them a proper burial”.


Although she recently claimed to have “gained access” to a fetal tissue and organ bank at the University of Washington in Seattle, the university said its cold storage area was locked and nothing was taken.

Ms Handy was separately indicted for forcing entry into a Washington DC abortion clinic in October 2020.

“On March 9th myself & fellow activists gained access to University of Washington’s fetal organ labs & freezers,” she claimed on Twitter on March 23rd.

She also retweeted pictures posted by PAAU that show the contents of a cold room at the University of Washington.

‘Respectful cremation’

The university cold room contained brown bags, in which donated fetal remains dating back to the 1960s were stored inside containers. The university said the remains were there as they were in the process of completing regulatory steps, “so that the respectful cremation can occur”.

“This process is common when an institution considers the continuing educational or scientific value of its historical collections,” said Tina Mankowski, senior director of communications at the University of Washington school of medicine.

Researchers at the university use remains to study birth defects and other conditions, “all with the goal of improving the health and well-being of babies and their mothers”.

Federal prosecutors indicted Ms Handy on charges of blockading a Washington DC abortion clinic, where she allegedly claimed to be a patient to gain entry.

She and eight co-defendants could face up to 11 years in prison and $350,000 in fines if found guilty.

The news comes as conservative states across the US rush to limit women’s access to abortion, in anticipation of a forthcoming supreme court decision expected to severely curtail the right to terminate a pregnancy.

Conversely, some Democratic-led states have worked to enshrine the right to abortion in state law.

Current federal law requires states to allow abortion until a fetus can survive outside the womb, generally regarded as 24 weeks gestation, because of a decision in the 1973 landmark supreme court case Roe v Wade. – Guardian