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Prayer service at Immaculate Conception in Elkton, Md., to commemorate discovery of aborted fetuses

A memorial for victims of abortion is seen in Pine Prairie, La., March 26, 2020. Abortion, the U.S. bishops reaffirmed in "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship," remains "our preeminent priority" since it "directly attacks life itself." (CNS photo/Jonathan Bachman, Reuters)

ELKTON, Md. — Immaculate Conception in Elkton, Md., will host a prayer service for aborted children on Sept. 12, the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children. The service will commemorate the 10th anniversary of the burial of the remains of 34 aborted fetuses that were discovered in August 2010 in a freezer in an Elkton clinic.

The gruesome discovery was made after an 18-year-old woman was rushed to Union Hospital in Elkton following a botched procedure at the clinic, which was operated by Dr. Stephen Brigham. The woman, who was 21 weeks pregnant, was eventually treated for a ruptured uterus and injured bowel at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore. Brigham and another doctor, Nicola Riley, drove the woman to Union Hospital in Elkton rather than call 911, and they refused to give their names to emergency department personnel.

Brigham had been conducting an abortion business that would begin with a procedure at a facility in New Jersey, then have the women drive to Maryland, which allowed second-trimester abortions.

A search of the clinic resulted in the discovery of 35 late-term fetuses. Brigham and Riley were arrested and charged with first- and second-degree murder. Murder charges against both were dropped because the state could not prove that the fetuses died in Maryland. Brigham was not licensed in Maryland, but his New Jersey medical license has since been revoked. Riley lost her Maryland license, but kept it in Utah.

Father Joe Piekarski, then the pastor of Immaculate Conception, petitioned the state for custody of 34 of the fetuses. A Canadian couple claimed the other. In a low-key mid-November ceremony that was kept largely a secret, the remains were buried in a single adult casket.

The service begins at 10 a.m. The church is located at 455 Bow St., Elkton. It is open to the public, and masks will be required of all attendees. The church’s capacity during the coronavirus pandemic is 133 people.

Immaculate Conception Cemetery is located on Singerly Road (Route 213) a few miles north of Elkton, near the intersection with Childs Road. It is one of two cemeteries in the state participating in the National Day of Remembrance.