Aborted Baby Found in the Trash, and a Last Work of Mercy

On Monday, June 7, 2021, a human body was discovered in a black plastic garbage bag buried deep inside a trash container located in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. The foot had been severed from the left leg, the left leg severed from the lower torso, the right hand severed from the right arm—and the rest of the body was so terribly mangled that other body parts could not be identified except for a long string of human intestines that managed to remain intact. The gruesome discovery received little secular media coverage as the body was that of a mere “fetus” and the trash container was that of the Northeast Ohio Women’s Center abortion facility. 

Certainly, if the body of a born child or a mature adult had been found in an Ohio trash receptacle, the finding of such a murder victim would have received widespread sensationalized coverage in every possible media outlet and an instant response from law enforcement agencies. But this particular human being was just another result of legally sanctioned “reproductive choice.” Such “choices,” made 2,500 times per day, are protected by a culture that does all it can to deny the existence of such a victim. But occasionally, the broken bodies of the aborted unborn surface and become the abortion industry’s worst nightmare.

The aborted baby was found in the trash container of the Cuyahoga Falls clinic just three days after four pro-lifers conducted a Red Rose Rescue at the abortion facility. On Friday, June 4th, Fr. Fidelis Moscinski of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, veteran pro-lifer Laura Gies, African American Stephanie Berry, and eighteen-year-old college student Audrey Whipple quietly entered the waiting room of the clinic. Two women scheduled for abortions were already seated there. One of them appeared to be no more than fifteen years old and was accompanied by her mother. 

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A press release describes the intention of the rescuers: “Those involved in the Red Rose Rescue seek to extend words of encouragement to the women scheduled for abortions and offer them material help. In addition to reaching out to the mothers, the rescuers choose to remain in the clinic with the unborn children—who at that point have no one else to speak for them. The rescuers, like any others who recognize an urgent situation, responded to dire circumstances of imminent peril in a spirit of intervention on behalf of innocent babies and beleaguered mothers, inspired by Proverbs 24:11 which states: ‘Rescue those who are being led away to death.’ Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta said that her work was ‘to go into the dark holes of the poor.’ The Red Rose Rescue is an action of going into the dark holes of the poor—namely abortion clinics where the innocent are rejected—and in these dark holes we seek to bring hope, true peace and the presence of God.”

The four pro-lifers were arrested, charged with trespassing and stood trial July 9th.  On July 13th they were convicted by Summit County Magistrate John Clark, known to be a devout Catholic. According to the Akron Beacon Journal, he even stated: “[E]vidence of when life begins is irrelevant in a criminal trespass proceeding. Since abortions are constitutionally protected activity and, therefore, legal … defendants cannot rely on the defense of necessity.”  But, of course, this is the insanity since the pro-lifers risked arrest precisely to defend human life!  In the end it is the dead unborn child in the clinic trash container who is deemed irrelevant.   

Late in the night of Monday, June 7th, Andrew Bliss, who himself has participated in several Red Rose Rescues, made the initial trash container search. He took three or four bags of clinic trash to a nearby park and, under the light of a street lamp, searched though each of them. When he unwrapped a bunched-up blue-colored surgical paper, used to drape the operating table, out fell a lump of bloody tissue. Upon closer examination, it was found to be the body of an aborted baby between 16- and 18-weeks’ gestation—killed by the D and E (dilation and evacuation) abortion method, literally a dismemberment procedure. 

Ironically, the trash bag that held the aborted baby also contained three badly wilted red roses, the very ones the Red Rose Rescuers had distributed to the women in the waiting room of the clinic three days before. The cards with words of encouragement to the mothers were still attached to the stems of the roses. Sadly, with the red roses and the aborted baby found together, it is very possible this was an unborn child the rescuers had tried to save. However, not only was the body of an aborted baby discovered, but the clinic had also thrown out documents containing numerous patient names as well as bio-hazard waste material, including blood-stained suction cannulas used in abortion procedures.    

Bliss managed to find a sympathetic funeral director who provided formalin solution to preserve the body of the aborted baby. This also rendered any bio-hazard elements inert. The baby was then delivered to my home while more searches of the Northeast Ohio Women’s Center trash were conducted. Thus, between June 9th and June 29th, while no other aborted babies were discovered, local pro-lifers continued to find additional patient names and more bio-hazard waste. The disposal of a human body, documents containing patient names, and bio-hazardous material into the trash are violations of Ohio state laws that regulate the conduct of medical facilities. 

Even before the end of the trash container searches, I contacted Denise Liepold, head of Right to Life of Northeast Ohio. As it turns out, the local pro-life community had for years been working hard to shut down the Cuyahoga Falls abortion center and its sister-clinic in Shaker Heights. In 2011, David Burkons, the owner and operator of the Northeast Ohio Women’s Center, was cited by the State Medical Board of Ohio for being responsible for no less than 41% of all medical complications from the administration of the RU 486 chemical abortion method. In 2013, the clinic, operating under the name of Capital Care, had its license revoked by the Ohio Department of Health, when, in a thirty-four-page report, the facility was cited for failing to comply with more than twenty health code regulations. In 2017, the Ohio Medical Board suspended Burkons’ license for six months due to his misdemeanor offense in illegally prescribing medications to fourteen of his patients. 

On July 7th, two days before the Red Rose Rescuers went on trial, the Ohio Right to Life affiliate held a press conference at its Akron headquarters—a conference at which I also spoke. Allie Frazier, media coordinator for Ohio Right to Life, spent two days generating media interest. Over one hundred major media outlets had been notified and the conference was also available through Facebook live. Several pro-life-friendly news services posted stories about the finding of the aborted baby, and news about the gruesome discovery was blasted all over social media. 

Eric Marotta, a reporter from the Akron Beacon Journal, was the lone representative from the “mainstream” press. After sitting in front of large photographs of the aborted baby killed at the Northeast Ohio Women’s Center, posters that showed bloody bio-hazard waste and documents found in the clinic trash with patient names redacted by Ohio Right to Life, Marotta put in a call to the clinic. Undoubtedly caught completely off guard, clinic manager Sherri Grossman denied everything. Marotta’s article appeared the next day, June 8th, with the headline: “Anti-Abortion Groups Accuse Cuyahoga Falls Clinic of Improperly Disposing of Fetal Remains.” He reported: “Sherri Lynn Grossman, Northeast Ohio Women’s Center administrator, said she learned of the allegations Wednesday, and denied them all. She said the improper disposal of fetal remains, medical waste and patient information could not have taken place. ‘Absolutely not—absolutely not,’ she said. ‘We have very strict policies and procedures in place.’” 

Of course, the clinic will be hard pressed to explain how the remains of an aborted baby were found in the very same trash bag with wilted roses from the Red Rose Rescue—a photograph Bliss did not neglect taking. Furthermore, prescription vials were found in the trash containing not only patient names, but Burkons’ name and that of another clinic abortionist, Christine Slotta. Grossman cannot explain how such evidence wound up in the hands of pro-lifers. Nonetheless, when Liepold picketed the clinic on the morning of July 9th, Grossman came out of the abortion center screaming: “You’re an f—-ing liar. You’re all f—ing liars!”

In December 2020, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed into law S.B. 27, the Unborn Child Dignity Act. S.B. 27 requires the Ohio Department of Health to establish rules for the proper and humane burial or cremation of children who have lost their lives to an abortion procedure. The Unborn Child Dignity Act was first introduced after then-Attorney-General DeWine discovered that Planned Parenthood had dumped the bodies of abortion victims in a Kentucky landfill.  

However, in March 2021, Planned Parenthood, along with the ACLU, filed a lawsuit to stop the law from going into effect. After a judge issued a preliminary injunction against S.B. 27 in April 2021, Governor DeWine signed an executive order regarding the emergency adoption of the law’s required rules by the Ohio Department of Health. Those required rules have not as yet been issued—and thus the bill remains in legal limbo. This means that the Northeast Ohio Women’s Clinic may never be penalized for tossing the aborted unborn child into the garbage, unless the aborted baby’s remains are simply treated as so much more bio-hazard waste! 

Photos of this abortion victim have been posted on social media and are available at the Red Rose Rescue Facebook page. I took the majority of the photos myself. Thus, I spent a great deal of time with what was left of this abandoned child, trying to carefully document not only evidence against the clinic where he or she was mercilessly dismembered, but even more importantly to make a record to honor this murder victim’s humanity so denied by those who took part in the killing. I deliberately began this article simply describing that a human body was found in a trash container—since all lives are equally sacred, it ultimately makes no difference whether the body was that of a born person or an unborn person.

There is a darkness of the human soul I cannot penetrate, no matter how hard I have pondered over it. In my decades of pro-life work, I have taken literally thousands of aborted babies out of the trash, photographed them, buried them.  When I see the severed leg, hand, foot, I see the body parts of a human being. Why do I see a person, and yet the abortionist, who sees exactly what I see, fails to really see, fails to recognize a fellow human being—whose obvious humanity should prevent the desecration of that person. Undoubtedly, it is a spiritual darkness, a lack of human vision I am truly blessed not to understand.  

The baby has been named Gianna-John—a girl’s name and a boy’s name since the baby’s gender cannot be determined. The finding of Gianna-John is a call to action as Ohio pro-lifers now look to Ohio regulatory agencies and that state’s pro-life Attorney General David Yost to investigate the Northeast Ohio Women’s Clinics and shut them down! In the meantime, abortion victim Gianna-John, whose existence was never meant to be known, waits to be buried—one of the few out of the sixty-two million killed by legalized abortion who will find his or her way into a human cemetery. The Christian religion teaches that there are seven corporal works of mercy. The last work of mercy is to bury the dead. But ironically, the last work of mercy will be the first work of mercy this aborted baby will ever know. 

[Photo Credit: Provided by author]


  • Monica Miller

    Monica Miller, Ph.D., is the Director of Citizens for a Pro-life Society. She holds a degree in Theatre Arts from Southern Illinois University and graduate degrees in Theology from Loyola University and Marquette University. She is the author of several books including The Theology of the Passion of the Christ (Alba House) and, most recently, The Authority of Women in the Catholic Church (Emmaus Road) and Abandoned: The Untold Story of the Abortion Wars (St. Benedict Press).

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