Pro-lifers in court for resisting arrest while trying to save babies inside abortion center
FLINT, Michigan, July 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Four pro-life activists who entered an abortion center in Flint, Michigan on June 7 and peacefully resisted arrest while trying to save babies will appear before a Michigan District Court judge tomorrow at 11:00 a.m.
The four nonviolent protesters who entered the Women’s Health Center of Flint and conducted the Red Rose Rescue were Lauren Handy, Matthew Connolly, Will Goodman, and Patrice Woodworth. Red Rose Rescues, inspired by Canadian pro-life hero Mary Wagner, involve pro-lifers entering and refusing to leave abortion facilities. They risk arrest to counsel and offer practical help and red roses to abortion-minded moms.
Robert Muise of the American Freedom Law Center will represent the pro-lifers during the hearing, which will be overseen by Judge Vikki Bayeh-Haley at the 67th District Court of Genesee County, located at 630 S. Saginaw Street in Flint. The rescuers are charged with a felony count of resisting arrest.
Judge Bayeh-Haley will review the evidence presented by the State and will decide if the felony statute doesn’t apply, a move that would dismiss the charges altogether, or move the case to the circuit court for a full review.
Dr. Monica Migliorino Miller, the veteran pro-life activist and Red Rose Rescue leader, said in a press release that the defendents “will testify that all they did was merely exercise passive resistance.” Dr. Miller also said “it is nearly unheard of in the history of the pro-life movement that defenders of the unborn in clinic sit-ins and rescues are charged with such a crime!”
LifeSiteNews’ Martin Barillas was on location when the rescue occurred. According to his eyewitness report, there were approximately six mothers in the waiting room when Handy, Connolly, Goodman, and Woodworth entered. When the rescuers made themselves known, the abortion staffers whisked the mothers further inside and barred anyone from entering.
A female staff member at the center cursed and shouted at the rescuers in the waiting room. The staffer also touched and shoved the rescuers. Three of the rescuers could be seen praying and singing hymns from the abortion facility’s entryway. There were two women in the waiting room who had appointments but subsequently left.
Woodworth was kneeling in prayer when a state police trooper arrived. Approximately 12 police officers were on the scene. The officers entered the facility and began lifting the prayerful, non-violent defenders of the unborn out of the building and onto the scorching hot pavement next to their vehicles. Pro-life protestors held signs on the sidewalk nearby.
Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, a Michigan-based organization led by Dr. Miller, has published a press release about the rescue, explaining:
At approximately 9:00am they entered the facility and spoke to women scheduled for abortions, offering assistance and words of encouragement in an attempt to persuade the mothers to choose life.
By refusing to leave the clinic when told to do so by law enforcement, they intend[ed] to offer an act of non-violent defense of unborn children about to be aborted and were placed under arrest. In addition to misdemeanor charges of trespass and disturbing the peace, the pro-lifers unexpectedly were slapped with a felony count of resisting arrest. They will testify that all they did was merely exercise passive resistance.
The press release also said:
Since when are people who engage in completely non-violent passive resistance charged with a felony? The Red Rose Rescuers were involved in a life-saving mission, an act of social justice on behalf of the vulnerable, namely the unborn about to be aborted, and all they did was go limp and had to be carried out of the abortion facility. Passive resistance is a time-honored practice and it is nearly unheard of in the history of the pro-life movement that defenders of the unborn in clinic sit-ins and rescues are charged with such a crime! The evidentiary hearing will show that the charge is unwarranted and we hope the pro-lifers will prevail.