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From left to right: Joan Andrews Bell, Jonathan Darnel, Jean MarshallPhoto Credit: Jim Hale / LifeSiteNews

(LifeSiteNews) — One of the pro-life rescuers recently convicted of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act in Washington, D.C. is not backing down from his pro-life advocacy, explaining in a recent interview from behind bars that “rescue is the sort of thing we should want to do.”

In comments made exclusively to pro-life organization Live Action last week, 40-year-old pro-life rescuer Jonathan Darnel said rescue efforts — in which activists physically intervene to try to stop women from going through with abortions — are the only pro-life methods whereby the “choice” to kill a preborn baby is actually denied, “at least for a period of time.”

“Everything else is not pro-choice ideologically, but it’s pro-choice functionally. We allow the woman her choice when it comes down to it. When she can’t be persuaded to stop, and she and her boyfriend walk in the doors [of an abortion facility], we allow her that choice,” he argued.

“I do encourage people to rescue, because we need that example of selfless sacrifice to drive others on and make us all feel uncomfortable for just letting abortion happen right under our noses for so long,” Darnel told Live Action in a phone interview on October 12.

While he praised pro-life organizations that don’t engage in “rescue” efforts but strive to educate college students and others about the reality of abortion, Darnel argued that advocates for the unborn actually “should be impatient,” and that patience can actually be a vice rather than a virtue “when it’s somebody else suffering.”

“We should be righteously indignant. And even if you can’t rescue or feel that that’s just strategically bad, you should be wanting to rescue,” he said. “You should be desperately hoping that you could do that. Look zealously for some other way to invest your energies. And in that way, I think it will help us find a definitive end to this problem without having to wait another 50 years.”

Darnel said he thinks the incarceration of pro-life activists for rescue efforts — including 75-year-old pro-life fighter Joan Bell — should be a major issue in the 2024 presidential contest.

Former President Donald Trump has vowed to pardon or commute the sentences of recently jailed pro-life activists as well as “every political prisoner who’s been unjustly persecuted by the Biden administration.”

READ: ‘It’s just jail’: Pro-lifers facing prison for trying to save babies express faith, firmness of resolve

As LifeSiteNews previously reported, Darnel and seven other opponents of abortion were convicted of violating the FACE Act and committing conspiracy against rights for blocking access to the Washington Surgi-Clinic in downtown Washington, D.C., in a “traditional rescue” in October 2020. 

All of the pro-life advocates were convicted and immediately incarcerated in two separate trials held in late August and early September. They have not yet been sentenced, but could face up to 11 years behind bars and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

Speaking to Live Action about how Darnel and his fellow rescuers are doing while in jail and awaiting sentencing, Darnel said he and compatriots Will Goodman and John Hinshaw see each other frequently at jail religious services despite being incarcerated in different cell blocks.

“We’re handling it fairly well,” Darnel said. He told the outlet he’s “making good use of the time,” including by praying, reading the Bible, and even brushing up on his Spanish with Spanish-speaking Christian inmates. He said sentencing may be a long time coming, remarking that one of his fellow inmates has been behind bars for two years and has not yet been sentenced.

Darnel said appeals are underway for almost all of the rescuers, though Bell, who acted as her own representation, may not have been able to file one. He said appeals filed by representatives for the other pro-lifers should extend to Bell also.

READ: Anti-abortion rescuers double down on saving babies despite recent DC FACE Act convictions

The pro-life rescuer told Live Action he hopes that the suffering of himself and others who have gone to jail for their defense of the preborn will help to put an end to abortion nationwide in short order.

“[I]f just enough of us decide that we’re gonna let the persecution – at least temporarily – fall on us instead of them, I can see an end for this within our generation, if not within this decade or sooner,” he said.

“I pray that more people continue talking about rescue, and challenging our pro-life presidential candidates on what they’ll do about [abortion], and just force this issue to a head,” he said.

“The worst thing that can happen for the preborn is that everybody just forgets about them,” he said.