Judge bans pro-lifers from going near abortion centers in unprecedented ruling
WEST BLOOMFIELD, Michigan, March 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A judge sentenced five pro-life activists today to one year of reporting probation, eight days of community service, more than $1,000 in fines each, and forbade them from going within 500 feet of any abortion facility in the United States.
Several of them will likely serve jail time for refusing to pay the fines or perform community service. Some of them could end up being in jail for 120 days.
Entering an abortion facility on December 2, 2017, to distribute red roses to the mothers inside, peacefully begging them to choose life. They call this a “Red Rose Rescue.” For that, they were charged with and convicted of trespassing and obstructing a police officer.
The five pro-life activists are Monica Migliorino Miller of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, Will Goodman, Patrice Woodworth, Matthew Connolly, and Robert “Doc” Kovaly. In February, a jury took 30 minutes to convict them.
They are also forbidden from associating with or communicating with each other for a year. They also can’t associate with anyone who is “engaged in breaking the law,” which potentially limits their contact with Red Rose Rescuers in other states.
“I’ll (agree to) go see a probation officer, but I’m not paying a fine, and I’m not gonna do community service,” Migliorino Miller told LifeSiteNews. “I am not guilty of a crime.”
“Even in the heyday of the Rescue movement, we never saw anything like this, really,” Miller said of their severe sentences. “I can only come to the conclusion that the judge is in favor of legalized abortion, that he saw that the Red Rose Rescue was a threat to the practice of abortion. Otherwise, we would have had a lenient sentence. ... I don’t think any of us expected the harshness of this sentence.”
Migliorino Miller has 30 days to pay the fine, according to the judge, even though she already told him she refuses to do so. Some of the others have six months to pay, she told LifeSiteNews.
During the trial, Judge Marc Barron allowed the prosecutor’s request to never call the abortion facility that the rescuers entered – the “Women’s Center” operated by abortionist Jacob Kalo – an “abortion clinic.”
“The victims of abortion, namely the unborn, were kept hidden from the jury and the judge's rules were designed to stifle any testimony having to do with the reality of abortion,” said Migliorino Miller.
Each of the pro-lifers was sentenced separately and read pre-sentencing statements. During hers, Migliorino Miller showed the judge and the abortion workers who came to watch the sentencing a photo of an aborted baby she herself took.
It showed a “severed hand and severed foot of a 20 week aborted baby that was taken out of a clinic trash dumpster here in Michigan,” she said. “They seemed uncomfortable” seeing it.
Migliorino Miller, who has been in the pro-life movement for decades, chronicled in her book Abandoned: The Untold Story of the Abortion Wars how she retrieved the bodies of babies from abortion center trash cans and gave them proper burials. She captured a number of well-known, heart wrenching photos of babies killed by abortion.
After they were found guilty, Barron ordered the rescuers to stay at least 150 feet away from every abortion facility in America before their sentencing. This was a “bond condition unprecedented in the history of legalized abortion,” according to Citizens for a Pro-Life Society.
Red Rose Rescues inspired by Mary Wagner
The Red Rose Rescues are in a sense a revival of the “rescue” days of the pro-life movement, when pro-lifers would enter abortion facilities and plead with moms inside to choose life.
During these “rescues” in the early days of the pro-life movement, pro-lifers would block the entrances to these facilities or chain themselves to abortion equipment, saving many lives.
In 1994, then-President Clinton signed the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which makes it a federal crime to physically block women from obtaining abortions. FACE effectively ended the widespread use of normal rescue tactics.
But, inspired by Mary Wagner, the Red Rose Rescue movement focuses on distributing red roses to mothers inside abortion centers and urging them to choose life. No one involved in the Red Rose Rescue has been charged with violating FACE. The pro-lifers don’t block the entrances to the abortion centers, but simply refuse to leave in solidarity with the pre-born.
In Canada, Wagner is often jailed for refusing to comply with probation orders that she stay away from any abortion centers.
In Alexandria, Virginia, Red Rose Rescuers Lauren Handy and Linda Mueller will be tried for their December 2, 2017, rescue – conducted in conjunction with the Michigan rescue – on May 18. Their trial date, originally March 9, was postponed due to their lawyer’s illness.
Earlier this year, another Michigan judge sentenced Migliorino Miller, Goodman, Connolly and full-time college student Abby McIntyre to two years of non-reporting probation for convictions stemming from their September 15 arrest at a Sterling Heights abortion center.
‘The babies were worth the sacrifice’
“The babies were worth the sacrifice,” said Migliorino Miller. “The babies are worth this burden that’s been imposed on us and we’re gonna do our best to continue to witness to the sanctity of life and I hope that more Red Rose Rescues will happen.”
She said pro-lifers must “not be intimidated” and must perform “radical acts of love and that means radical acts of sacrifice.”
“We’re dealing with life and death here. How could (our actions) be any different?”
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