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Heather Idoni with Sister DeeDee ByrneJim Hale/LifeSiteNews

WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-life advocate and mother of 15 Heather Idoni was sentenced by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to 24 months in prison for blocking access to a late-term abortion center in the nation’s capital. Idoni, who recently suffered a stroke while incarcerated, was also denied home confinement despite ongoing health issues.

On August 29, 2023, a D.C. jury found Idoni, Lauren Handy, Will Goodman, John Hinshaw, and Rosemary “Herb” Geraghty guilty of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act and “conspiracy against rights.” The next month, Joan Andrews Bell, Jonathan Darnel, and Jean Marshall were convicted of the same; Paulette Harlow’s conviction came in November.

Following the convictions, most of the co-defendants were denied release while awaiting sentencing. 

Last fall, Idoni, 59, was placed in prolonged solitary confinement for 22 days and deprived of sleep with the lights in her cell kept on continually. While awaiting sentencing, she suffered a stroke three weeks ago and had to be rushed to a hospital. Idoni previously disclosed to LifeSiteNews investigative journalist Louis Knuffke that she is a victim of gross medical neglect at the D.C. jail where she is incarcerated, which failed to administer essential medication for her heart while falsifying her medical record. 

On Wednesday, one day after her hearing was originally scheduled for, Idoni was sentenced to 24 months in prison. She has already served nine months, giving her 15 left to serve. Further, she was refused the option of serving her sentence via home detention, which she requested due to the health issues she has endured throughout her prosecution.

READ: Elderly pro-lifer Jean Marshall sentenced to 24 months, denied home confinement despite health issues

As LifeSiteNews has extensively reported, Idoni and the other D.C. pro-lifers stood trial for blocking access to the Washington Surgi-Clinic in downtown Washington, D.C., in a “traditional rescue” in October 2020. Pro-life “rescues,” of which there were many in the early days of the pro-life movement before the FACE Act became federal law, involve physically entering abortion centers and refusing to leave in an effort to convince women to choose life for their babies (Washington Surgi-Clinic is also where five late-term aborted babies were discovered who may have either been killed by illegal partial-birth abortion procedures or after live-birth).

“Justice was NOT served today. Free Heather Idoni!” reacted the Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising, which Handy directs.

In the previous sentencing for the rest of the “D.C. Nine,” Handy was sentenced to four years in prison and the rest of the sentences so far have ranged from one year to 34 months. The cases are the latest in what pro-lifers criticize as a pattern of the pro-abortion Biden Department of Justice (DOJ) weaponizing the criminal justice system to crush its political enemies.

READ: Biden DOJ files $50,000 FACE Act lawsuit against another group of pro-lifers

Since May 2022, when the U.S. Supreme Court’s intention to overturn Roe v. Wade was first leaked, “there have been at least 236 attacks on Catholic churches and at least 90 attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers,” the Daily Signal reports. Yet the DOJ “charged only pro-life activists with FACE Act violations in 2022, and has since charged only five individuals with violating the FACE Act by targeting pregnancy centers.” At the same time, it has zealously pursued incidents involving pro-lifers, from the D.C. defendants to Philadelphia sidewalk counselor and Catholic father of seven Mark Houck.

Idoni is not the only member of the D.C. Nine to have endured mistreatment while in custody above and beyond the charges and sentencing themselves. Jean Marshall, 74, was deprived of sufficient clothing and heat during extreme freezing winter cold, causing her to contract pneumonia which went untreated for three weeks, and was denied urgent hip surgery. Paulette Harlow, 75, was refused permission to attend Mass while under house arrest.

LifeSiteNews’ extensive coverage of the D.C. Face Act trials can be found here

READ: Pro-life rescuers are very effective in saving lives despite the risk of jail: here’s why

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