Catholic priests, activists to stand trial for pro-life witness inside abortion facility
November 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – On Monday, November 20, six pro-lifers will stand trial in a State of Virginia courtroom for their defense of the unborn—facing a possible jail term of up to 90 days.
On Friday, September 15, 2017 in three different cities across the United States, pro-lifers entered abortion centers to talk to women scheduled for abortions. By refusing to leave the clinics when told to do so by law enforcement, they offered an act of non-violent defense of unborn children about to be aborted, resulting in the pro-lifers’ arrests. This defense of the unborn is called the Red Rose Rescue—as pro-lifers offered red roses to the women inside the abortion clinics. Attached to each rose was a card with words of encouragement and phone numbers to local pregnancy help centers. The goal of the Red Rose Rescue is to persuade women in the waiting room to reconsider their decision to abort and leave the clinic with at least one of the rescuers. The remaining rescuers choose to stay in the clinic in solidarity with the unborn about to be aborted.
Altogether 10 pro-lifers were arrested—six who entered the Alexandria Women’s Health Clinic, 101 S Whiting St. #215, Alexandria, Virginia, and four who entered Northland Family Planning, 3810 17 Mile Rd., Sterling Heights, MI. Those arrested at the Virginia clinic included two Catholic priests: Fr. Stephen Imbarrato, associate with Priests for Life; and Fr. Fidelis Moscinski, of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. Pro-life heroine Joan Andrews Bell also took part, along with three other women: Julia Haag, Bonnie Borel Donahue and Joan McKee.
Those arrested at the Michigan clinic are Monica Migliorino Miller, director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, Will Goodman, Matthew Connolly and twenty-year-old Abby McIntyre who attends Indiana State University and interned with Bryan Kemper of Stand True. These rescuers are scheduled for a jury trial on Saint Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2018. They are represented by Robert Muise of the American Freedom Law Center.
On Monday, November 20 the Virginia rescuers will stand trial, charged with one state count of trespass which carries a maximum 90 day sentence. They are represented by Attorney Chris Kacharoff. The trial will begin at 9:00am at Alexandria District Court 520 King St, Alexandria Va 22320 on the 2nd Floor.
None of those who defended unborn children in the September 15 Red Rose Rescue has been charged with breaking the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. Fr. Imbarrato states: “If nothing else comes of the Red Rose Rescues—this alone would be a great victory for the babies and the pro-life movement—that this type of rescue is ‘FACE proof.’ The FACE law passed by Congress in 1994, with possible consequences of federal prison time may not be applicable to the Red Rose Rescue as this rescue does not involve the blockading of clinic doors—no one’s ingress and egress is prevented.” Furthermore, thus far there have been no state or local city initiatives to pass buffer zones as a consequence of the September 15 rescue.
Those involved in the Red Rose Rescue talked to women scheduled for abortions, extending to them words of encouragement and offering material help. In addition to reaching out to the mothers, the rescuers chose to remain in the clinic as an act of solidarity with the unborn children scheduled to be killed by abortionists, while a support team of sidewalk counselors and prayer supporters assembled outside.
Monica Migliorino Miller explains: “The Red Rose Rescue is an act of charity for women who feel, for whatever reason, that they must abort their innocent unborn children. Those who perform the rescues are willing to embrace risks for these women and their babies. They will go into the very places where the unborn are put to death and extend help to the moms. Should this help be refused—they will not leave the abortion centers but remain in solidarity with the helpless victims oppressed by the injustice of abortion. Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta said that her work was ‘to go into the dark holes of the poor.’ The Red Rose Rescue is an action of going into the dark holes of the poor—namely abortion centers where the innocent are rejected—and in these dark holes we seek to bring hope, true peace and the presence of God.”
The next Red Rose Rescue is in the planning stages.