WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — At a prayer vigil held at a jail just hours after the August 29 arrest of the pro-life rescuers convicted in the D.C. FACE Act trial, John Paul Hinshaw shared with supporters the last words of his father just before he was summoned to the courtroom for the jury’s verdict that resulted in John Hinshaw’s immediate incarceration for standing up to defend the lives of the unborn.
JP Hinshaw said his father had recounted to friends the famous 1979 “We will stand up” homily of Pope St. John Paul II delivered near the U.S. Capitol in the presence of the Supreme Court Justices who had ruled in Roe v. Wade. John Hinshaw had drawn special inspiration from John Paul II’s courageous witness to life on that occasion.
In that homily, the Pope declared, “I do not hesitate to proclaim before you and before the world that all human life from the moment of conception and through all subsequent stages is sacred, because human life is created in the image and likeness of God.”
Nothing surpasses the greatness or dignity of a human person. Human life is not an idea… human life is the concrete reality of a being that lives, that acts, that grows and develops. Human life is the concrete reality of being that is capable of love and of service to humanity.
And so, we will stand up every time that a human life is threatened. When the sacredness of life before birth is attacked, we will stand up and proclaim that no one ever has the authority to destroy unborn life. When a child is described as a burden or is looked only as a means to satisfy an emotional need, we will stand up and insist that every child is a unique and unrepeatable gift from God with a right to a loving and united family.
JP Hinshaw said his father would want those gathered in vigil to know that in the Pope’s words, “we will stand up” “for the five, for all the unborn children who have been slaughtered since Roe, [and] who are still being slaughtered even in the post-Dobbs era.”
The charges against the rescuers stem from a federal grand jury’s two-count indictment of nine abortion opponents for allegedly taking part “in a conspiracy to create a blockade at the reproductive health care clinic to prevent the clinic from providing, and patients from receiving, reproductive health services” for blocking access to the Washington Surgi Clinic.
Lauren Handy, 29; Jonathan Darnel, 40; Jay Smith, 32; Paulette Harlow, 73; Jean Marshall, 72; John Hinshaw, 67, Heather Idoni, 61; William Goodman, 52; and pro-life heroine Joan Bell, 74, were charged with conspiracy against rights and violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.
Defense lawyer Steve Crampton, who is representing Handy, told LifeSiteNews after the defendants were convicted and immediately incarcerated that a determination they had committed a violent crime – which served as the basis for immediate imprisonment – was “preposterous” since the rescuers had all agreed on “nonviolence.”
“The real violence, as we all know, is what happens inside that clinic to the babies every single day,” Crampton said. “So, to accuse Lauren and the other gentle activists here of violence is really ludicrous.”
The five defendants are being held in the Alexandria detention center. Defense lawyers filed an emergency motion Wednesday morning requesting the immediate release of each of the defendants from jail and have said the case will be appealed on numerous grounds.
The motions and arguments for appeal are scheduled to be filed Sept. 29, with the prosecution set to submit a reply within two weeks and the defense to submit a final response and arguments two weeks later. Sentencing would ordinarily take place several months after these procedures.