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(LifeSiteNews) — Throughout the course of the United States v. Handy trial taking place in the U.S. District Court of Washington, D.C., government prosecutors have attempted to portray defendant Lauren Handy as a dangerous, extremist ringleader of a pro-life conspiracy to violate the FACE Act and deny women’s “reproductive health rights.”

Jury members were likely surprised when Handy took the stand to tell her story. Responding to questions from defense attorney Martin Cannon, the soft-spoken Handy described her life as a college student in Lynchburg, Virginia, immersed in the study of art history and planning a career as a museum curator or art historian.

When Cannon asked about her book collection, Handy quietly responded that she had a personal library of 400 books, and that she had read all of them. She said she was content pursuing a career in art when she took an interest in sidewalk counseling at a local abortion clinic as part of her commitment to an emerging philosophy of non-violence in all forms.

At the clinic, she witnessed a woman who had just finished an abortion procedure walking to her car being aggressively handled by a man who appeared to be her boyfriend, and at that moment “something shifted in me.” The bookish Handy immediately began researching abortion and felt overwhelming grief at her discoveries. “I didn’t want to be in a world where this was happening, and if I did (live in this world) I would do something about it,” she said.

Her passion to protect the unborn soon became a life mission after she saw a video produced in 2013 by the pro-life advocacy organization Live Action, where late-term abortionist Cesare Santangelo is caught in an undercover video telling the undercover reporter the procedure for allowing a baby to die who was born alive.  “Did you develop a belief about Cesare Santangelo,” Cannon asked. “My belief was that if a baby survived an abortion attempt, it would be left to die. My belief was that it had happened before,” Handy said.

Handy decided after watching the Live Action video to skip her final exams and drop out of college. She bought a train ticket to Washington, D.C. to attend a press conference exposing the crimes at Santangelo’s Washington Surgi Clinic. “I had to go to the place where the video happened,” Handy said. “I went home and told my parents that I had left school.”

Over the next seven years, Handy devoted her life to “trying to understand why people were seeking abortions,” volunteering for Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, and working in Haiti at a children’s hospice, where children were dying of HIV. It was in the crucible of grief over the death of innocent children in Haiti, where Handy embraced the “principle of solidarity of abiding with a child to the last moment,” born or unborn.

The 29-year-old Handy told jurors that this was her “Calcutta moment,” as known by Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity — when a profound movement of the Holy Spirit calls one to act on behalf of innocent victims. As always, Handy took a scholarly approach, studying the subject of post-viability elective abortion. Prosecutors strenuously and continuously objected to Handy’s language describing late-term abortion and the percentages of live birth rates of attempted abortions. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly chastised Cannon, saying, “Now she’s a mini-expert. There’s a limit … you’re moving toward jury nullification.” “No, I’m not,” Cannon responded.

Crucially, Kollar-Kotelly denied a defense request to submit the Live Action video into the trial, and has placed severe limitations on the defense, noting that Cannon and Handy were “trying to present information that abortion is wrong” and that it has “nothing to do with this case.”

Cannon persisted, asking Handy if she “targeted the Washington Surgi Clinic based on the generalized belief that live birth abortions are happening, and he’s (Santangelo) not going to help?”

Prosecuting attorney John Crabb Jr. jumped out of his seat to vigorously object, calling Cannon’s questions “gossip and propaganda.” This is “improper, unfounded information. It’s prejudicial and inflammatory … she’s trying to say she’s done research.”

Crabb is certainly correct on one count. Handy did do her research, and that research has uncovered the unspeakable horror of late-term abortions and infanticide being carried out in the nation’s capital. Handy testified that it was the act of infanticide — killing a baby or allowing a born-alive baby to die — that motivated her to target the Washington Surgi Clinic on October 22, 2020.  “Whether she’s correct or not is not the issue,” Judge Kollar-Kotelly said. “She may not say they (Santangelo) didn’t do anything.”

WATCH: Jury in FACE Act trial not allowed to see shocking video of DC abortionist describing his work

This is what Kollar-Kotelly and the prosecution fear the most, and what the Live Action video proves unambiguously. As articulated by Santangelo in the video, he’s very familiar with the practice of infanticide, and that changes everything, because the FACE Act applies only to abortions. The efforts by Kollar-Kotelly and prosecutors to quash evidence of infanticide is their own Calcutta moment of sorts. They must act to deny the truth that Santangelo is a killer. And that’s why Handy and eight other defendants were willing to put their own bodies on the line on that day — “to be in solidarity with victims and to be there as long as possible,” Handy said.