(LifeSiteNews) — Pro-lifers rallied outside the district courthouse in Washington, D.C. on Thursday to pray for the five activists currently standing trial on federal charges for blocking access to a late-term abortion clinic.
As LifeSiteNews has reported, a group of five anti-abortion activists are currently on trial for blocking access to the Washington Surgi-Clinic in downtown Washington, D.C., in a “traditional rescue” in October 2020. Pro-life rescues involve activists physically intervening to try to prevent women from going through with abortions.
Lauren Handy, William Goodman, John Hinshaw, Heather Idoni, and Rosemary “Herb” Geraghty have been charged with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act and committing conspiracy against rights. Each of the defendants could face up to 11 years behind bars if found guilty.
The jury began their deliberations Friday and are expected to continue deliberations on Tuesday.
Reverend Patrick Mahoney, a minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church, stressed outside the courthouse Thursday that the defendants are facing “eleven years in prison… for simply being a Christian and loving their neighbor as themselves.”
LifeSiteNews interviewed some of the assembled pro-lifers who gathered in support of the defendants in a short video capturing the anticipatory and prayerful mood outside the courthouse.
“The frustration is so deep. The injustice is so great,” said Monica Miller, director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society. “This is very, very serious that these defendants are facing a maximum of 11 years for trying to defend innocent unborn children from being put to death.”
The abortuary at the center of the case, the Washington Surgi-Clinic, is run by notorious abortionist Cesare Santangelo and is the same location at which pro-life advocates reportedly discovered the remains of roughly 100 aborted children, including five extremely late-term babies, last year. Numerous physicians have suggested that at least some of the babies may have been killed after being born alive. Santangelo previously said in a 2013 undercover video recorded by an investigator with Live Action that he would not undertake “extra” measures to save a baby who was scheduled for an abortion but was born alive.
“The first thing we need to do, the second thing we need to do, the third thing we need to do, and the last thing we need to do is offer ourselves to Almighty God,” Miller said.
Pro-life activist Dana DiMattia told LifeSite on Thursday that she takes comfort from knowing that Jesus Christ underwent His Passion with obedience, even though He knew the horrors He was about to experience.
“I remember one of the defendants saying that in order to rescue, you have to let the entirety of the Passion play out in you. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing in all these defendants,” DiMattia said. “They are just being obedient to the Lord and His message and they’re carrying out what His will is for them.”
Pro-life advocates prayed outside the courthouse for the Holy Spirit to comfort and strengthen the defendants and to guide the jury as they consider their verdict.
If convicted, the defendants could each face three years of supervised release and up to $350,000 in fines in addition to the maximum of 11 years in prison.