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Top row, left to right: Will Goodman, Lauren Handy, John Hinshaw, 'Herb' Geraghty. Botton row, from left to right, Heather Idoni, Jean Marshall, Jonathan Darnel, Joan Andrews Bell (Missing: Paulette Harlow) LifeSiteNews

WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — The two days of sentencing that took place in our nation’s capital on May 14 and 15 demonstrated clearly both the insecurity and aggressiveness of our government’s present persecution of pro-life Americans and the resilience of the “D.C. Nine” pro-lifers who are bearing the brunt of that persecution.

I was there through it all, and it struck me that Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly’s attempt to appear merciful toward the D.C. Nine, who were brought to trial on charges that carried the heavy threat of an 11-year prison sentence, was a form of insecurity. Knowing the case would likely collapse should the actual evidence of what happens in an abortion be allowed to see its day in court, she insisted at every sentencing that “the case is not about abortion” as though afraid to be confronted with the ugly truth of what it actually was these pro-lifers had gone to stop.

On the other hand, Judge Kotelly, appointed by the same president who enacted the egregious FACE Act, which has led to the imprisonement of the D.C. 9, seemed perturbed by the strong and open refusal of every pro-lifer to apologize for having stepped in the way when the life of the precious unborn was at stake.

Kotelly demonstrated her unmerciful will when sentencing 74-year-old infirm Jean Marshall to a further punishment of more than a year in prison despite the abundant testimony about her critical health needs and the lack of proper, essential, urgent medical care during the past nine months of her detainment. The gross medical neglect of both Judge Kotelly and the Alexandria Detention Center – where Jean has been held in custody since last September – as well as the DOJ’s complicity in Marshall’s mistreatment and neglect, was on full display in the courtroom at Jean’s sentencing.

I heard at the sentencing that not only has the judge denied the prescribed hip replacement surgery that Jean Marshall’s doctor scheduled last fall, but when Jean was taken into custody, the jail took from her a medical hip belt, designed to keep her hips even, merely because the belt contained metal. This medical belt was never returned to her, and her condition has significantly worsened, resulting in continual extreme pain in her right leg and, recently, the inability to bend the right knee as well as numbness of the right leg.

The DOJ claimed on Wednesday that there was no documentation submitted to the court regarding Jean Marshall’s urgent health conditions, which her lawyer quickly refuted by reading the letter of her own doctor sent to the judge the day before Marshall was convicted last September. The letter detailed her need for the recommended hip replacement surgery, which was originally scheduled by the same doctor and then canceled because of the judge. The document had been entered into the court’s docket for the trial, but Judge Kotelly appears to have never actually read the letter, as its contents were “news” to her on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, a full 8 months, nearly to the day, after the letter had been sent to her on September 14, 2023.

READ: Elderly pro-lifer Jean Marshall sentenced to 24 months, denied home confinement despite health issues

Nothing less should have been expected of this aggressively pro-abortion judge, who surmised in a pretrial memo that the so called “right to abortion” was perhaps contained in the 13th amendment – which abolished slavery in our nation! – an idea so ridiculous that not even the DOJ opted to use it in their courtroom arguments.

In addition to the serious medical neglect Judge Kotelly and the DOJ are inflicting on Jean Marshall, they have now also effectively rendered her homeless. As Marshall made known to the court, the retirement housing in which she resided prior to incarceration last fall requires the renewal of her residency by next January in order to be maintained. Without either husband or children to do so for her, she will have been evicted from her home by the time she is released from prison under Kotelly’s sentence: an elderly, infirm, Catholic pro-life woman and retired RN rendered homeless at 74 by a pro-abortion judge and DOJ.

On the part of the pro-lifers sentenced over the past two days, our nation has witnessed a resilience that will outlast the pro-abortion Biden DOJ and see its day of vindication.

I was particularly moved when listening to the eloquent John Hinshaw, who, in true Thomas More style, seemed to pronounce sentence on the judge at his own sentencing, reminding her of the One Judge of all, before whom they both will soon appear to answer for their actions regarding the bloody murder of the innocent unborn babies killed throughout America over the decades by abortion.

The only apology that came from Hinshaw that day was a lament that he has not done more than he has done to stand up for, and defend, the defenseless unborn.

Jonathan Darnel, a decorated veteran and retired captain of the U.S. Army, who deployed twice to Iraq, declared that he intended to fulfill both his soldier’s oath to uphold the Constitution and his obligation as a Christian to love his neighbor. Citing the 14th Amendment, he declared the murder of the unborn to be both immoral and illegal, in contradiction to the specious claims of both the judge and the prosecution that the life of the unborn is not protected by American law.

Then the court heard the eloquent words of Jean Marshall, who declared, “Our rights end where another’s begin. And they begin where all of ours do – at conception.” She spoke beautifully on the “God-given right to life” enshrined in and protected by our nation’s own Declaration of Independence and Constitution. 

Marshall’s eloquence on the right to life met only with impatience and contempt from the judge, who, interrupting numerous times and insisting that the case “was not about abortion,” could not bear to hear a simple statement defending the right to life of every unborn child given by an imprisoned elderly pro-lifer who has endured nine months of medical maltreatment and neglect. 

The unjust sentences pronounced this week, even if shorter than those possible or expected, will serve as evidence of the aggressive pro-abortion agenda of the Biden DOJ and the complicit Clinton-appointed federal judge, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. If the prosecutors in the case and the judge wished their names to be placed on this potentially precedent-setting case, in which charges of violating FACE were combined with “conspiracy against rights,” then their names will go down in history with infamy when our nation finally acknowledges the horror and devastation of the last five decades, which we have guiltily perpetrated in the slaughter of the innocent through abortion.

READ: Elderly jailed pro-lifer allowed to see doctor, released from 20-hour lockdown after LifeSite report

This week’s sentences are certainly not the last word on abortion either in Washington, D.C., or in America. 

May God bless the courageous “D.C. Nine”, who stood in the breach in defense of life, and may He grant them strength to continue to bear witness before judges and courts.

May Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Author of life and Judge of all, look mercifully upon their sufferings and bring their undaunted testimony to full fruit by purging every corner of our land of the crime of abortion. 

“For the sake of the joy which lay before Him, Christ endured the Cross, heedless of its shame.” 

May these pro-lifers in like manner endure their cross, for love of Him, heedless of the shame with which the world tries to break them.

Louis Knuffke has been reporting the sentencing hearings of the D.C. 9 from the courtroom.