Police: No Crime in Claims of Fetus That Reportedly Survived Abortion

Authorities investigated claims of a live fetus and determined that “there were no elements of a crime established.”

Authorities investigated claims of a live fetus and determined that “there were no elements of a crime established.” Shutterstock

Phoenix police said they found no evidence of a crime following reports Friday that an abortion procedure at a local clinic had resulted in a live fetus.

Police Sergeant Trent Crump said in an email Tuesday that authorities had investigated claims of a live fetus and determined that “there were no elements of a crime established.” He said police were completing a report on the incident.

The Phoenix Fire Department on Friday responded to a medical call at Family Planning Associates Medical Group, an abortion care provider, police said in a statement. Authorities transported a fetus, with no fetal heart tones, to Banner Medical Center, where it was pronounced dead, authorities said.

Dozens of anti-choice activists staged a weekend-long prayer vigil outside the Phoenix hospital, claiming a fetus had survived an abortion procedure, as the Arizona Republic reported.

The anti-choice group Live Action has targeted Family Planning Associates in recent years, recording covert, heavily edited smear videos that claimed the center violated the federal “Born Alive Infant Protection Act.” Signed by President George W. Bush, the 2002 act “provides that all federal protections for persons apply to every infant born alive.”

Officials at Family Planning Associates have rejected Live Action’s claims, and said they follow the law.

A representative from Family Planning Associates told Rewire on Tuesday that doctors would soon issue a statement on the incident.

Activists at the vigil told reporters they had heard about the incident from a 911 dispatcher. They claimed a fetus had been discovered breathing during an abortion procedure at 21 weeks of gestation.

“Someone present there believed there was movement, or might have been movement,” Crump told the Arizona Republic.

Abortion care in Arizona is lawful up to about 24 weeks from the date of a person’s last menstrual period, and Arizona law provides a few exceptions beyond that stage if the pregnant person’s health is threatened.

The Phoenix Police Department was informed Monday of the death and that the medical examiner’s office had been involved since Friday, according to a police statement.

Officials said they will not perform an autopsy on the fetus because the death did not meet the standard laid out in state law, which calls for autopsies in cases involving violence or suspicious circumstances, according to reports.