(LifeSiteNews) — Anti-abortion activists with the Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU), a left-wing organization that supports LGBT ideology yet vehemently opposes abortion, spoke with LifeSiteNews to emphasize the importance of engaging in “rescue” efforts to directly save preborn babies.
As LifeSite has extensively reported, eight anti-abortion rescuers were convicted and immediately incarcerated for violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act and conspiracy against rights in two separate federal trials held in late August and early September.
The rescuers were charged with the crimes after blocking access to the Washington Surgi-Clinic, a notorious late-term abortion facility in downtown Washington, D.C., in a “traditional rescue” in October 2020. “Rescues” involve activists physically intervening to try to stop women from going through with abortions.
After five defendants, including PAAU director Lauren Handy, were convicted in the first trial and immediately led away to jail, PAAU director of community organizing Kristen Turner shouted defiantly, “Long live rescue.”
In comments to LifeSite, Turner said her rallying cry signified that the movement “isn’t going to die out just because of an unjust government.”
“We’ve known that the government is unjust from the beginning, and that’s what we came into this trial knowing,” she explained. “It wasn’t a shock to us that they were biased, they were pro-abortion, and that they took… every opportunity they could get to thwart the rescuers and our efforts.”
“So, when we say long live rescue, we mean long live the babies, because we will save all of them,” she said.
Less than two weeks after the second group of rescuers were convicted for their actions, PAAU’s Elise Ketch took part in another, less “intense” form of rescue alongside pro-life activist John Kavanaugh-O’Keefe.
For Ketch, engaging in the comparatively low-risk rescue, which still involved crossing the abortion facility property line to minister to abortion-seeking women, was her opportunity “to show that rescue is going to continue on.”
“We need people to understand that there are ways to turn up the heat gradually,” she explained, adding that rescuers “don’t have to go full blockade,” i.e. physically blocking entrances.
“Lock and block is like the highest form of rescue or at least the most intense and most escalated. And that’s not what every rescue is like,” she said. “The bare minimum of a rescue is that you somehow put your body between the abortionist and the child by breaking a law or something, some sort of other held statute like the property line.”
Caroline Taylor-Smith, executive director of PAAU, told LifeSite that her organization is absolutely “recruiting for the rescue movement” and pointed to the dedication of recently-convicted 74-year-old pro-life activist Joan Andrews-Bell, who Taylor-Smith said has argued that rescue efforts are necessary to prevent the preborn from becoming nothing more than another talking point.
As Taylor-Smith put it, unborn babies aren’t “just a problem that we’re going to talk about and discuss.”
“They’re actual individual human beings,” she said.
Turner expressed a similar sentiment, highlighting the fact that preborn infants “are not just numbers” but “real people who deserve to be loved and deserve to have a friend and an ally there for them.”
She said Emily Berning, founder of pro-life nonprofit Let Them Live, “has been proud to say that almost every single rescue we do… they get a call from a mom who received a rose from us.”
Turner said the moms just “needed somebody to just tell them like, ‘this is your sign” not to end their child’s life.
“Part of our rescue philosophy is that, when you go inside that day, when you cross the property line, you’re loving that baby,” she explained. “And you may be the only person who’s ever acknowledged their existence as a human being.”
“But if I were dying, if I were being dragged away to my death, I would want someone there with me until the moment I died,” Turner said. “And that’s why we rescue.”
For Taylor-Smith, rescue is “the only logical conclusion to the unborn being murdered by the thousands every day…”
“What else are you going to do?”