PHILADELPHIA, June 14, 2013 ( – The Philadelphia Medical Examiner is standing by its decision not to release the bodies of Kermit Gosnell’s victims to any third party to provide a burial, according to a spokesman for the city. Instead the bodies will be treated the way other unclaimed bodies are treated – by being cremated and buried.


“This would be something that would happen quietly, in a proper and dignified way,” spokesman Kenneth Gavin told the National Catholic Register.

In addition to Priests for Life, the Philadelphia Catholic diocese had also put in a request to obtain the remains of the 47 babies that were recovered from Gosnell’s “House of Horrors” clinic.

After being told earlier this month that their request had been denied, Priests for Life had launched a social media campaign, urging pro-life activists to telephone the Medical Examiner's office to plead that they change their mind.

Fr. Frank Pavone, the national director of Priests for Life, told in a telephone interview today that he believes an anonymous burial isn’t good enough.

Pavone said that his group is planning on holding a national funeral service for the babies, with or without the bodies. However, he added, it “should be happening with the bodies, and not some kind of secret, private burial of cremated remains, as if we’re somehow ashamed of these babies.”

In May, Priests for Life held a ceremony in which each of the babies was given a name.

“They’re our brothers and sisters, and they are not unclaimed,” said Fr. Pavone. “We have claimed them. They are named. And that’s why we want to have a national funeral.”

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Meanwhile, the archdiocese has told the Register that it had put in a request for the bodies as far back as 2011. The diocese had prepared by setting a plot aside for the babies, and had raised $8,000 to erect a memorial. 

As of yet no one from the city has contacted the diocese to convey their decision. In the meantime the plot will continue to be reserved, and the money held in trust.

When investigators raided Gosnell’s “House of Horrors” clinic in 2010, they were shocked to find the mangled bodies of the babies frozen and stored in a variety of containers, including milk jugs, cat food cans, and even a cherry lime-ade container. 

Gosnell kept the bodies of his victims in the clinic after falling behind in his payments to the medical waste company that normally collected them for disposal at a landfill. A detective involved in the case has said he believes that there are even more bodies of babies in the basement of the clinic.