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Fr. Fidelis MoscinskiRed Rose Rescue

(LifeSiteNews) – A New Jersey prosecutor has dropped trespassing charges against four pro-life activists, including Father Fidelis Moscinski, for a Red Rose Rescue conducted in 2018.

The charges were dropped after the judge granted permission for the pro-lifers to assert the defense of necessity at trial. A defense of necessity is one that admits the defendant committed illegal conduct but argues it couldn’t be avoided and was justified because it would prevent “the occurrence of a harm that is more serious,” as the Legal Information Institute explains.

Moscinski, Will Goodman, Patrice Woodward, and Matthew Connolly were released from all trespassing charges by Trenton Municipal Court on November 18, 2022.

“The dismissal of all charges against these courageous pro-life advocates brings to an end the long saga of this case,” Thomas More Society Special Counsel Christopher Ferrara said. “One can only admire the willingness of these four to make an offering of their own bodies, as prisoners, to save the unborn.”

“In an unusual development in the case…Ferrara successfully argued for the right to raise the defense of necessity at trial,” the law firm explained in a press release. “The grounds, as Ferrara demonstrated, were that the women about to undergo abortions had never been given information on the grave psychological consequences of abortion.”

The release noted that there is evidence of an “increased risk of suicide, drug abuse, exacerbation of preexisting mental illness, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” for women after abortion. Ultimately, “Ferrara’s briefings and arguments persuaded the Trenton Municipal Court to allow the defense, which the state would have had to disprove beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Ferrara described his argument as “unusual” because it did not approach the situation with a “focus on defense of life.” Instead, he argued that there is a “lack of informed consent to abortion.” He added that “women have the right to sue for damages” in the state of New Jersey.

The pro-lifers were arrested on December 22, 2018 for their involvement in the Red Rose Rescue. A charge of “defiant trespass” was added because they were planning “a peaceful sit-in” at a Planned Parenthood facility in Trenton.

During a Red Rose Rescue, pro-lifers enter the waiting room of an abortion facility and offer the women inside roses and positive information about alternatives to abortion, in a final effort to save the unborn before they are killed.

“We are grateful for the remarkably effective representation of Christopher Ferrara and the support of the Thomas More Society,” said Moscinski. “May we see many more such victories for the cause of life!”

As participants in the Red Rose Rescues, pro-lifers risk arrest, fines, and imprisonment, all of which they willingly accept in solidarity with the unborn in danger of or victims of abortion. Over the past few years, volunteers have faced charges for many rescues, with some resulting in penalties and others being dismissed.

In February, two prominent pro-life activists saw their charges reduced from aggravated trespassing to simple misdemeanor trespassing. A month later, Moscinski, Goodman, and Connolly were found guilty of trespassing for a rescue conducted in New York. They were later sentenced to three months in prison. More recently, four pro-lifers were sentenced to 45 days in jail for a rescue conducted three years ago in Michigan.

Moscinski was granted a providential split verdict in October when he was found guilty of two misdemeanor charges but not guilty of felony trespass and misdemeanor resist, all related to a 2021 rescue. However, just one week after the FBI raided Mark Houck’s home, the priest was arrested by the federal agency and is currently facing charges of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE). The trial for that case has not yet taken place.


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