Woman in whose DC home 5 fetuses were found had been charged in earlier abortion clinic incident

The woman in whose D.C. home five fetuses were found Thursday had already been charged with obstructing a clinic in 2020, and WTOP has learned that in 2019 she faced similar charges in an incident at the same clinic, but the case was dismissed.

Law enforcement sources confirmed it was Lauren Handy’s home near Capitol Hill that was raided Thursday by D.C. police responding to a tip about a possible biohazard. Five fetuses were found.

In March 2019, Handy was one of three people charged with unlawful entry at a reproductive health clinic. The court documents say the three were “peacefully protesting the operations of the abortion clinic” in Northwest.

In July of that year, the case was dismissed “for want of prosecution,” noting that prosecutors were not prepared to proceed to trial. A year later, in October 2020, Handy was part of a different group arrested in an incident at the same clinic.

Handy was charged last week in that incident, in which she and eight other activists against abortion rights allegedly barged into the clinic and blocked the doors. Handy made an appointment under a fake name, the court documents say.

One of their group streamed the event on Facebook Live, the documents add.

Federal law enforcement sources tell WTOP it was the same clinic in both cases.

Handy and the others in the group face the federal charges of conspiracy against rights and clinic access obstruction.

The lawyer who represented Handy in the 2019 case said prosecutors could potentially resurrect that misdemeanor charge to show Handy had a pattern of practice of protesting against the clinic.

Executive Assistant Chief Ashan Benedict, of the D.C. police, said at a news conference Thursday afternoon that the fetuses found at Hardy’s house “were aborted in accordance with D.C. law. So we are not investigating this incident along those lines.”

Handy hasn’t been charged in connection with the fetuses. Benedict said there “doesn’t (appear to) be anything criminal in nature right now about that, except for how they got into this house. And so we’re continuing to look at that.”

Handy is set to appear in court Monday on the 2020 charges.

WTOP’s Megan Cloherty contributed to this report.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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