A Response to PAAU’s Further Videos and Statement

A Response to PAAU’s Further Videos and Statement April 21, 2022



I want to follow up on my recent posts about Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising, the radical pro-life group that was caught with, as we’ve all heard a thousand times by now, five fetuses in an apartment. PAAU responded to me, so I will respond to them.

As you recall, a few weeks ago I wrote a blog post with an extreme content warning describing the video which Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising created as evidence for their claims that they took a box of aborted babies off a dolly outside the Washington Surgi-Center and brought it home to investigate. The group claims the box contained 115 human bodies, 110 of which were first trimester fetuses and 5 of which were much further along in gestation. The 110 were in a red biohazard bag, and the 5 were in a clear plastic bag which was packed into the box under the red one. They claim they blessed most of the babies and buried them in an undisclosed location, but kept five babies which they suspected were killed by infanticide or illegal abortion techniques. I suggested that the video backs up many of their claims, but leaves several questions. I said that because there were no time stamps, we couldn’t verify that the identical-looking box in Lauren’s apartment was taken from in front of the surgi center on the same day. I also said that there was no proof that the alleged “clear plastic bag” containing the much larger dead babies came from the same box as the red biohazard bag containing a large number of first trimester babies, thus casting into doubt whether those babies did come from the Washington surgi-center in the first place. I also pointed out that as yet we have no proof that anything illegal was done to those five children or that they were even aborted, because the same techniques used to abort a live child are also sometimes used to remove a fetus that was stillborn.

Since that time, PAAU has released a few new videos and photos that fill out their story. They now have several photos that include time stamps of the identical-looking pasteboard box in front of the surgi-center and in Lauren’s apartment. They have several more videos of themselves unpacking the box and examining the infants. And they have a photo of the priest who gave the babies a funeral in his vestments. And I want to say that I have absolutely no problem with finding a priest to bless and bury human remains on the sly if you find yourself in possession of remains and don’t believe the bodies will be buried any other way. I’ve been calling for the infant corpses that Frank Pavone seems to have exploited to be buried for years. I am only against PAAU’s tampering with evidence when they suspected a crime, of anti-abortion groups leaking extremely disturbing and exploitative photos of the bodies all over social media, and of the ensuing media circus which has re-traumatized many post-abortive mothers and parents who suffer from infant loss while making everyone who is against abortion look like maniacs.

The photos and video do answer one of my questions: the pasteboard box of fetal remains was photographed outdoors and in Lauren’s apartment on the same day. I’m more convinced than ever that Lauren and Terissa really did take a box of aborted babies being disposed of as medical waste from a dolly outside the surgi-center and open it in Lauren’s apartment. I don’t know whether or not they were given permission to take it by the workman transporting the boxes. I don’t know what I would have done in their situation. But I think that much of the story is true.

However, the videos still don’t provide any evidence that the five larger children were killed by illegal abortion techniques or infanticide. And they don’t answer my question of how the “clear plastic bag” containing the five fetuses ended up at the bottom of such a small box, buried under the contents of the red biohazard bag as PAAU has alleged. In fact, that allegation just makes less sense now. The video they shared shows the large white containers that the older infants were kept in already on the table as the PAAU members unpack the smaller green ones containing the first trimester fetuses from the red biohazard bag. We can tell they’re the same white containers from video to video. They’re in the same spot relative to Lauren’s dishwasher in the background. The red biohazard bag seems to fill the entire box and hasn’t been lifted from the box yet while the other containers are already visible. Maybe more information will come up that will explain the mystery. Maybe they lifted the red bag out and then carefully put it back down. Right now I’m puzzled. That seems to me to be the most important part of the story, the only proof that the five children they suspect were murdered illegally are actually from the Washington surgi-center. If they really were murdered and if they really did come from the surgi-center, I want the book thrown at the doctor who did it. But we need evidence. And we have none. A video wouldn’t be enough now that the fetuses have been tampered with, moved around and handled by so many people, but a video would be something.

Meanwhile, PAAU have been sharing the endorsements of their media stunt, and the demands that the mayor of Washington DC investigate the possible federal crimes from certain politicians, all over their social media. They are excited that Lila Rose, who is deeply transphobic, went on the famously racist Tucker Carlson’s program to demand “justice for the five.” They’re thrilled that politicians like Ted Cruz are joining their campaign to get autopsies for the babies. They even mentioned a visit from the infamous Frank Pavone.

This has led me to wonder what, exactly, is progressive about the so-called Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising. Their Youtube page talks about how feminist, anti-racist and queer friendly they are, but they’re excited to be endorsed by the slimiest of the right wing politicians and talking heads. I commented as much on social media, and to my surprise, they answered.


“I am as unhappy as anyone that the people we have to work with have said, done and support dehumanizing, and what I consider to be extremely inhumane policies and ideas. However, if a child was drowning in a pool, I wouldn’t ask someone’s beliefs, politically, ideologically, or religiously before I worked with them to save that child. The only difference is that it’s 2363 children every DAY that need to be saved. If you can’t see the importance of unity through diversity, then it’s clear you care more about your personal image than saving lives.” 

This answer doesn’t explain anything.

There isn’t a person drowning in a pool. I don’t have a problem with doing what it takes to save a life in the heat of the moment. But there’s no heat of the moment in this situation. The people PAAU is being praised for exploiting are already dead. They’re not coming back. There is no hurry. Thanks to PAAU, their corpses are being stored by the police somewhere and will probably get incinerated. Further, PAAU doesn’t HAVE to ask these people’s ideological beliefs before partnering with them, because they wear their values on their sleeve.

And what’s more, the sketchy right-wing crackpots endorsing PAAU are not using their media stunt to save other unborn babies in any way. They’re using the media stunt to spread mass hysteria about the alleged illegal killing of “the five.” Only PAAU has alleged that these babies are the victims of a federal crime. There’s no evidence for any of that, just their personal suspicion. We don’t know whether the five died from an induced abortion or were removed after they died naturally.  And we’ll never find out because of the way PAAU went about investigating their suspicions.

Are PAAU an astroturfed organization only pretending to be progressive?  I don’t know. You can form your own opinions about that. I can only say that they’re acting in a way that plays into the hands of the people they claim to despise.

Did they do anything likely to bring justice to the five children whose corpses they found? They did the opposite.

Are they saving any lives, with or without the help of conservative talking heads? Perhaps with their sidewalk counseling and perhaps not, but none at all with this shameful media stunt. They’ve only hurt people.

I hope I don’t have to write about PAAU again. I don’t like giving them the publicity they seem to crave far more than they want to help people. But that’s my answer.


Image via Pixabay
Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross and Stumbling into Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.
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