WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — When one of the most renowned and respected leaders in the history of the pro-life movement goes on trial in the United States District Court of Washington, D.C., she will not be represented by an attorney.
75-year-old Joan Andrews Bell waived her right to a court appointed attorney, as has been her practice since first being arrested for pro-life actions at abortion clinics in the 1970s.
“The main reason is the babies. They are being killed without due process of law, without an attorney being by them and without a day in court,” Bell told LifeSiteNews.
“So I do not want to have any of those things. I’ll be in court, but I’ll be silent and I’ll represent myself. I’ll make a statement to the jury in the beginning, but that’s it. The judge said you can’t bring up anything about the babies in court. I said, ‘Well my silence will represent their silence’.”
One week after five defendants in the first trial were found guilty on counts of committing conspiracy to violate rights and violating the FACE Act (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances), Bell was in court today for jury selection in the second trial, before Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, along with co-defendants Jonathan Darnel and Jean Marshall. A fourth defendant, Paulette Harlow, was judged unfit to stand trial.
Bell, Darnel, and Marshall know they are all in danger of facing the same outcome as the other defendants who were immediately sent to jail to await sentencing. Each is facing a maximum 11-year prison sentence.
“I think they’re capable of doing anything, to tell you the truth,” said Bell of the judicial system. “They have no morals and no love in their hearts for the babies, and they certainly don’t have love in their hearts for us. I expect the worst.”
Few are more familiar with the criminal justice system in America than Joan Andrews Bell. She has been arrested more than 200 times, and once spent two years in solitary confinement for performing rescues at abortion clinics. Joan views it all through the lens of her deep Catholic faith and the meaning of Christian suffering.
“Jesus undertook the worst for us,” Bell told LifeSiteNews. “He did it for the love of us. He did it for the judge. He did it for every little baby and every abortionist. Jesus loves us so much that he was tortured for us. And I know he’ll give me the grace to go through it.”
She admits that she hurts when thinking about being imprisoned again, away from her seven children and seven grandchildren. “But imagine what God’s mother felt when she watched Jesus die on the cross. She couldn’t be with him on this earth anymore,” Bell calmly explained. “So with all my children, I pray with them and I pray their faith grows stronger all the time and that they understand this and so far they’ve been very strong. And I have a good husband. He’ll take care of the kids.”
Bell was not the least bit surprised with the outcome of the first trial. “In our society, so many people have seen aborted baby pictures. They know they’re human. Deep in their knowledge, they know these are our brothers and sisters. I know people know these are little babies; they’re not stupid.”
Bell accuses the pro-abortion radicals of today with slave owners and segregationists. “I know every Southerner that supported segregation knew that our black brothers and sisters were really human beings. But they rationalized that somehow it’s better for society, even better for Blacks if they are separated. They did not love truth. They did not have open hearts. You cannot be God-filled and a person of love if you deny this truth that God made us in His likeness and that we are His children.”
Bell is aware of the attention the D.C. FACE trials are getting and the discussions taking place amongst pro-life groups about the practice of rescue, where activists go inside an abortion facility in a last-ditch attempt to stop abortions. Some in the pro-life movement argue against rescue.
“I always said that whenever a human being is being tortured or killed we have to rescue them,” Bell said. “You can debate issues all you want to. You can argue and debate and disagree. But when the innocent are being murdered and sanctioned by law. It’s absolutely inexcusable, unthinkable, and that’s why we keep rescuing.”
That’s why the notorious Washington Surgi-Clinic was targeted for rescue on October 22, 2020.
“These babies are actually being killed in violation of federal law,” Bell told LifeSiteNews.
“What happens at the mill where we rescued is that these babies are being killed illegally and yet this judge refused to allow the truth to bear. It’s a double standard,” she continued.
“He also killed a couple of women very brutally. I’m not sure deliberately, but it shows what a bad doctor he is. These little babies go through such a brutal killing. They’re denied the joy of living on this earth, to serve God on this earth. That’s so horrific. And the way they kill them is brutal, without any anesthetic. My heart bleeds for them.”
You can hear Joan’s heart when she speaks. Her voice is soft and sweet, almost child-like.
She says she’s at peace no matter what happens and asks for prayer for her and all of her co-defendants who are being unjustly persecuted.
“There’s no greater gift that you can give to another human being than prayer,” she said.
“That’s the essence of calling on God’s mercy – his presence on someone that you love. And I’m so grateful. Even if I don’t know who they are or where they are, God knows who they are, and I pray every day that God will bless every new person that has ever prayed for me. I could not survive without their prayers.”