BEDFORD FALLS, OHIO (LifeSiteNews) — The charges against two pro-lifers who stood in a parking lot offering women entering a Bedford Falls, Ohio, abortion facility red roses and life-affirming resources have been reduced from aggravated trespassing to simple misdemeanor trespassing. No trial date has been set yet.
Dr. Monica Migliorino Miller, Ph.D., and Lauren Handy conducted the Red Rose Rescue outside Planned Parenthood on June 5, 2021, and appeared in court Wednesday.
“We were literally in court [for] eight minutes,” Miller, the author of Abandoned: The Untold Story of the Abortion Wars and director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, told LifeSiteNews.
Miller said she had spent hours reviewing police body cam footage and Planned Parenthood security videos “gearing up to face that charge” of aggravated trespassing only to learn in court that prosecutors were amending it to be one of simple trespassing.
Aggravated trespassing involves “causing physical harm to another person or causing another person to believe that the offender will cause physical harm to that person.”
“What planet are you on? This was very ignominious, to be burdened with such a charge,” said Miller, who noted the officer who arrested her was very friendly and didn’t even handcuff her.
The judge will now decide whether Handy and Miller can use a defense of necessity, arguing that trespassing was necessary to try to save the lives of babies who were scheduled to be aborted at Planned Parenthood that day.
The four pro-lifers who conducted a rescue at a nearby Ohio abortion facility on June 4, 2021, were ordered to pay $100 each in fines for trespassing, but refused to do so.
Nearly 30 Red Rose Rescues in US since 2017
The Red Rose Rescues are something of a revival of successful tactics used during the early days of the pro-life movement, before the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) imposed harsh penalties on pro-lifers who save babies by physically blocking “access” to abortion facilities. They are also inspired by Canadian activist Mary Wagner, who has repeatedly entered Toronto abortion centers and offered red roses to mothers waiting to have their children aborted. Wagner has spent six years in jail for her actions.
There have been 28 Red Rose Rescues in the U.S. since September 2017. Legally, they have resulted in charges being dropped a number of times, notably in federal court; others have ended in trespassing convictions. The state of Michigan has treated rescuers the most harshly, jailing pro-lifers and even charging four with a felony for obstruction of officers. Michigan’s attorney general is a lesbian in a same-sex “marriage.”
No Red Rose Rescuers have been charged under FACE.
Rescuers have ranged in age from 18 to 65 and have included Catholic priests Father Fidelis Moscinski, CFR, Father Stephen Imbarrato, and diocesan priest-turned-traditionalist hermit Father Dave Nix.
Rescuers Will Goodman and Tony Puckett were supposed to be on trial February 3, 2022, for a Red Rose Rescue they conducted in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on April 30, 2020, but that trial has been postponed to May 12, 2022, according to Citizens for a Pro-Life Society.
Meanwhile on February 3, 2022, Moscinski, Laura Gies, Matthew Connolly, and John Hinshaw appeared in court in Long Island. The four conducted a rescue in April 2021. Connolly and Hinshaw were arraigned; Moscinski and Gies were farther along in the administrative process of moving to trial. No trial date has been set yet, Gies told LifeSiteNews, and navigating the legal processes involved in getting to trial has felt like a “chess game” especially with the court system backed up because of COVID-19.
Gies, who met her husband during the early days of the pre-FACE pro-life “rescue” movement, was part of a “mini” Red Rose Rescue in Washington, D.C., on January 22, 2022 – the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the day after the March for Life – which did not result in any arrests.
The ongoing Red Rose Rescue trials coincide with the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that with its sister case Doe v. Bolton imposed abortion on demand on every American state, later this year. The Supreme Court is considering the constitutionality of Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. A rule in favor of the pro-life side could allow states to ban or severely limit abortion.
“Obviously we would be happy to see Roe v. Wade overturned,” said Miller, but “until the unborn are recognized as persons and are protected by the 14th Amendment, I’m sad to say there’s gonna be a lot of murder still going on.”
“Red Rose Rescue will make our responses to that injustice going forward … in whatever states abortions continue.”