At a House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday concerning abortion access, an expert witness called by Republicans made a head-scratcher of a claim: Washington, D.C., is literally powered by burning fetuses.
“Bodies [are] thrown in medical waste bins, and in places like Washington, D.C., burned to power the lights of the cities’ homes and streets,” Americans United for Life President Catherine Glenn Foster proclaimed.
“Let that image sink in with you for a moment,” she continued. “The next time you turn on the light, think of the incinerators, think of what we’re doing to ourselves so callously and so numbly.”
Foster, a Georgetown Law graduate who earns more than $190,000 a year as president of the anti-choice group, followed up the claim by accusing people who support women’s right to bodily autonomy of being “devastating to the fabric of American democracy.”
As of October 2021, nearly 93% of the District’s power generation came from natural gas, coal and nuclear power plants, according to the D.C. Policy Center, a nonpartisan think-tank. Wind and other renewables ― not fetuses ― comprise the remaining 7%.
Representatives for the Potomac Electric Power Company (“Pepco”), which oversees the District’s power supply, didn’t respond to a request for comment Thursday.
While some states, like Indiana, require aborted fetuses to be buried or cremated in a funeral home, they’re disposed of as medical waste in the nation’s capital.
That has led anti-choice activists to accuse Curtis Bay Medical Waste Services, the largest medical waste incinerator in the country, of transporting and incinerating fetuses to generate energy. Recently, an anti-abortion activist found with the remains of five fetuses in her apartment claimed that she and a colleague had obtained them from a Curtis Bay worker. The company denied the claim, saying company policy prohibits it from transporting fetal remains.
Nationwide, around 1% of abortions are performed 21 or more weeks into a pregnancy. Physicians typically provide them at that stage because of severe fetal anomalies or threats to the mother’s life.