6 pro-lifers arrested inside Ohio abortion centers as they begged moms to choose life
CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio, June 8, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Six pro-life activists, including a Catholic priest, were arrested on criminal trespassing charges at two abortion facilities on Friday and Saturday as they approached women inside and counseled them against aborting their children.
Dr. Monica Migliorino Miller, director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society and organizer of Red Rose Rescue missions, and 27-year-old Lauren Handy were arrested at a Planned Parenthood in Bedford Heights, Ohio on Saturday. After pro-life volunteers briefly spoke with two couples there, Miller said they “never got out of their vehicles” and exited the parking lot.
“That is a very good sign,” she told LifeSiteNews. “That gives us hope.”
When couples leave an abortion facility and have more time to think about their decision, “there’s a reprieve for the baby,” Miller said.
Miller, who is the author Abandoned: The Untold Story of the Abortion Wars, also organized the rescue at the Cuyahoga Women’s Center on Friday morning. Another rescue had been planned at a Shaker Heights abortion facility for Friday afternoon, but the abortuary was unexpectedly closed when the rescuers arrived.
Miller told LifeSiteNews there were about 10 other pro-life activists outside the abortion facility in Cuyahoga Falls who did not enter the building and were not arrested.
Meanwhile, the closure of the Shaker Heights facility “was kind of a mystery,” Miller said, “because there is no question that that clinic was taking appointments from 1:00 o’clock to 3:00 o’clock: chemical abortions.”
Miller said the closure was unannounced and to her knowledge nobody was notified of cancelled or rescheduled abortions.
The Red Rose Rescues are something of a revival of successful tactics used during the early days of the pro-life movement, before the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) imposed harsh penalties on pro-lifers who save babies by physically blocking “access” to abortion facilities. They are also inspired by Canadian activist Mary Wagner, who has repeatedly entered Toronto abortion centers and offered red roses to mothers waiting to have their children aborted. Wagner has spent six years in jail for her actions.
Before their arrests, Red Rose Rescuers offered moms red roses and cards with the phone numbers of local pregnancy centers and the message: “You were made to love and to be loved ... your goodness is greater than the difficulties of your situation. Circumstances in life change. A new life, however tiny, brings the promise of unrepeatable joy.”
Miller, who was held at the Cuyahoga County Jail on Saturday for five hours before being released, said, “We try always to be very quiet and very peaceful and exceptionally passive in terms of the arrest situations. We never give any resistance.”
Miller said the Red Rose Rescuers’ practice of entering abortion facilities is a way of “moving the sidewalk counseling into the actual abortion facility.”
“Our goal is to talk to moms one on one and give them a hope that they otherwise wouldn’t have,“ she said. “They’ve already gone past the sidewalk counselors on the sidewalk and so this is our last effort to reach them before they walk down a hallway to abort their baby.”
Miller noted the Planned Parenthood in Bedford Heights is configured in such a way as to prevent sidewalk counselors from speaking with women before they enter the facility.
“They have a separate entrance specifically dedicated to the woman scheduled for abortion,” and it’s around the back of the building, in their parking lot,” she said. “The only way we were able to reach those moms was by going on the parking lot to talk to them.”
Miller said the mission of the Red Rose Rescues has two levels.
The first is the “11th hour effort to persuade these moms not to go through with the abortion, and to offer them help in the last few minutes before they walk down that hallway to abort their babies.” The second level of the mission is “to stay there for the baby.”
“They deserve a defense,” Miller said. “They deserve someone to stand up and witness for them. So that’s why we don’t leave them. We remain in solidarity with the victims of abortion. And that’s why we don’t leave. And that’s where the possibility of arrest is going to come in, because when the police order us to leave we very politely refuse and tell them why.”
According to the Akron Beacon Journal, the four arrested in Cuyahoga Falls have pleaded not guilty to fourth-degree misdemeanor charges of criminal trespassing. Their trial dates are set for July and they have all been released on $2,500 personal recognizance bonds.
Miller and Handy have been given a pretrial date of June 22.
Since 2017, there have been close to 20 Red Rose Rescues in the United States. Legally, they have resulted in charges being dropped a number of times, notably in federal court; others have ended in trespassing convictions. The state of Michigan has treated rescuers the most harshly, jailing pro-lifers and even charging four with a felony for obstruction of officers. Michigan’s attorney general is a lesbian in a same-sex “marriage.”
Rescuers have ranged in age from 18 to 65.