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Chris Bell and Joan Andrews BellLifeSiteNews

(LifeSiteNews) – Rescuer Joan Andrews Bell went to her trial with two statements that she was not permitted to read in their entirety.

Dr. Monica Miller, director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, told LifeSiteNews via email that Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly had “muzzled” Bell during the closing arguments held on Thursday, September 14. This was during the second FACE Act trial of pro-life witnesses charged for attempting to save lives at a Washington, D.C., late term abortion business in October 2020.

Bell had both an “Opening Statement” and a “Closing Statement” that she was required to submit to the judge before reading them aloud. In the copy seen by LifeSiteNews, large sections of the statements were marked with a large X, apparently indicating that they should not be spoken. A small cross indicated what Bell was permitted to say.

“The short closing was banned altogether,” Miller wrote.

On Friday, Bell, 74, and her companions Jonathan Darnel, 40, and Jean Marshall, 72, were found guilty of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. They were immediately imprisoned.

LifeSite has indicated in bold those statements which Miller reported Bell was permitted to say. Additions made to the text  have been inserted in italics.


Joan Bell


[Added: The evidence will show] I am a pacifist. Always have been. [When I was] a kid growing up on a farm, my dad had to deal with me blocking the cattle loading shut to prevent the calves from going to slaughter. When I got old enough, I realized animals had a purpose. They are not people. As long as they are not abused and … they are dealt with humanely, it is all right that they fulfil that purpose.

Being Catholic and knowing that human life is sacred, I’ve been deeply involved in fighting injustice against persons since my pre-teens, from the civil rights movement, Citizens against the Death Penalty, the anti-war movement of the 1960s and 1970s, [to] the pro-life movement (resisting the worst mass murder of all).

My means of resistance have always been totally non-violent along with compassion and respect shown towards those with whom I am in opposition.

[Added: OK only if testimony.] Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. have been my spiritual mentors. Jesus Christ is the ultimate standard: lay down your life for others.

I vehemently opposed the anti-war movement leadership when those around me were verbally disrespecting the police by calling them “pigs” and calling soldiers “baby killers.” I opposed and finally departed any group that would not cease or that promoted violence, verbal or otherwise. That stands true to this very day. And I will tell you the most caring and non-violent group I have ever been part of is the pro-life movement. After over 50 years working with thousands of others to protect human life in this cause, this is the most compassionate, most caring, most non-violent people I have ever been part of verbally and physically. [Added: OK only if testifying] Yes, I have blocked the killing of babies, but never verbally accosted an abortionist or anyone else, especially a pregnant mother. We love them.

At a rescue before this one, I had an abortionist say, “I know you love me.”

[Added: Can say only if testifying—not simply addressing the jury.] Please understand we have an absolute standard that cannot be violated whether you are sidewalk counselling or at a prolife march or rally or doing a rescue inside or outside a building. You may not touch anyone! If you are assaulted, you can only lie down to protect yourself. To protect someone else you cannot touch the attacker. You are only allowed to block the attack of others by putting your own body between the assailant and the victim. If the victim is on the ground, you can place your body over the other to take the blows for him or her. This is an absolute standard. Nothing else is tolerated.

CLOSING STATEMENT [crosssed out and the words “Addressing the Jurors” added]

I did not want a lawyer representing me though the court insisted I have a lawyer as legal advisor in the courtroom. …Mr. Stephen Brennwald has been a great blessing, and I do thank the court. But I did not want to be represented because the little babies being put to death on the day I and others attempted to rescue them were never given due process of law before their falsely legal execution: no day in court, no representation.

Please understand. I can love God in prison or out of prison. What matters to me is for you to know that God loves you with a passion! I hope with all my heart that if you do not already know this…you will come to know this Truth most personally and deeply.

RELATED: Pro-life rescuers found guilty, immediately taken into custody in second DC FACE Act trial