Multiple Fetuses Found in Anti-Abortion Activist's Home, Police Say

Authorities found five fetuses in the Washington, D.C. home of Lauren Handy, an anti-abortion activist, on Wednesday.

Police entered the home after receiving a tip about "potential bio-hazard material," per a statement from Washington's Metropolitan Police Department. When a reporter from WUSA-TV asked Handy what was inside the house, she replied "people will freak out when they hear."

According to the police's statement, the D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has collected the fetuses and the investigation into other details is ongoing.

Handy, 28, was one of nine anti-abortion protesters who were indicted earlier this week on charges of invading an abortion clinic and blocking its doors in October 2020, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The indictment said Handy and the other protesters "engaged in a conspiracy to create a blockade at the reproductive health care clinic to prevent the clinic from providing, and patients from receiving, reproductive health services" by blocking the clinic doors with "their bodies, furniture, chains and ropes," according to the DOJ release.

Once the blockade, which Handy has been accused of directing, was underway, another alleged participant livestreamed the incident on Facebook, said the DOJ.

If found guilty of their charges of conspiracy against rights and violating the FACE Act, the defendants face up to 11 years in prison with three years of supervised release and a fine of as much as $350,000, the release added.

In addition to the 2020 protest, Handy was also charged with a felony in 2019 after allegedly resisting arrest at a Michigan abortion clinic protest, although that charge was later lessened to misdemeanor trespassing, per WUSA. She has also reportedly participated in other protests around the Washington, D.C. area.

Handy is the founder of the anti-abortion group Mercy Missions. In a 2017 interview with Eternal Word Television Network, she mentioned nearly 500 "saves" or abortions that she prevented. Handy said that four years prior, she had a "Saint Paul moment" when other anti-abortion friends brought her to pray in front of an abortion clinic.

"I knew I could no longer have a normal life knowing that babies were being systematically killed," she told the Catholic network.

The discovery at Handy's home comes as the issue of abortion rights continues to be in the public spotlight, with states like Idaho and Kentucky passing legislation that greatly restricts access to the procedure. The topic of abortion has been polarizing for decades, with some protesters taking extreme measures to demonstrate their views.

A Florida bill that would ban abortion after 15 weeks has generated controversy. In a report, Human Rights Watch called the state's abortion legislation, which Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to sign into law, "cruel and dangerous."

"Being denied access to an abortion can have serious and lasting consequences for a pregnant person's health and well-being," it said. "For survivors of violence, denial of abortion care may amount to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment under international human rights law."

Handy and Mercy Missions did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment.

Update 03/31/22, 4:30 p.m. ET: This story was updated with more information.

anti-abnotion activist's arrest
Pro-life activists march during the 49th annual March for Life, on January 21, 2022, in Washington, DC. Authorities found five fetuses in the Washington, D.C. home of Lauren Handy, an anti-abortion activist, on Wednesday. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images