WHITE PLAINS, New York (LifeSiteNews) — Three pro-life activists, including a Catholic priest, were sentenced to three months in jail yesterday following a rescue effort at an abortion facility during which they counseled women to choose life for their preborn children.
Father Christopher “Fidelis” Moscinski and William Goodman, both 52, and Matthew Connolly, 40, were given the maximum sentence by White Plains City Court Judge John Collin for the misdemeanor charge of third-degree criminal trespass, according to The Examiner News.
The penalty is due to the men’s efforts to save the lives of unborn children during a “Red Rose Rescue” at All Women’s Health & Medical Services on November 27 last year. At the time, the men spoke to the women inside the abortion mill, offering each a red rose, for which their operations are named.
Each rose had a Miraculous Medal and a note attached that read, “You were made to love and be loved … Your goodness is greater than the difficulties of your situation. Circumstances change. A new life, however tiny, brings the promise of unrepeatable joy.”
In March, Goodman told LifeSiteNews that the women smiled when the rescuers gave them the roses, and that one “relatively long” conversation took place, describing the experience as positive.
The men were in the abortion mill for about two hours and insisted on remaining there despite repeated requests from staff and police that they leave the building, according to the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office. Police officers eventually carried the men out of the building to arrest them.
Steve Anduze, the men’s attorney, had clarified to Matt Spillane of Rockland/Westchester News that the Red Rose Rescuers did not block the women’s access to any place or any activity within the abortion mill.
“All they did was hand out roses to the patients in the waiting room and offer them alternatives to abortion and supportive services,” he said. “They were telling them that there were services available to them. They had the opportunity to choose a different path. They wanted to save the lives of the unborn,” Anduze said.
Nevertheless, District Attorney Mimi Rocah had pushed for the maximum penalty for the Red Rose Rescuers, arguing that “interfering with a patient’s right to access” what she described as “medical and reproductive care” is a crime in New York, The Examiner News reported.
Monica Miller, Director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society and co-founder of Red Rose Rescue, told LifeSiteNews in an email statement on Wednesday that “Fr. Fidelis, Will and Matthew frankly expected to be slammed with the maximum jail time.”
“All through the trial earlier this year, Judge John Collins exhibited bias and hostility against the rescuers, granting everything the prosecutor requested. Moreover, residents of Westchester County, NY are very pro-abortion, keeping in mind that New York as a state was out front early in codifying abortion through the ninth month!”
Miller added that “letters to the editor were printed in the local press demanding that the pro-lifers be given the maximum–and so here we are!”
The veteran pro-life activist has a positive outlook, however. She continued, “But, this is not a defeat. No, it is a spiritual victory as Father Fidelis, Will and Matthew embrace the Cross of Jesus– they unite their sufferings to the Passion of the Lord–and many great graces will be multiplied by their sacrifice.”
“Others should be inspired by their example and also participate in Red Rose Rescues! The babies are waiting for us and need us to stand up for them in a true act of love, just as they are facing violent extermination,” said Miller.
Following the court’s misdemeanor conviction, Goodman told LifeSiteNews, “In response to the jury’s condemnation, we offer them only forgiveness. As long as our brothers and sisters in the quiet of the womb are not protected under law, it is sad but not surprising that their advocates won’t be treated with any real justice either.”
Goodman called the verdict a “badge of honor,” saying “it is a blessing to serve them and be willing to suffer so that these precious little ones and their mothers will be protected and loved by society.”