Eleven people were arrested over the weekend who simultaneously entered abortion centers to talk to women scheduled for abortions. Among them was a Catholic priest, Father Stephen Imbarrato of Priests for Life.
The pro-life defense of the unborn took place at three different clinics: Stephen Brigham’s Capital Women’s Service in Washington, DC, the Alexandria Women’s Health Clinic in Alexandria, VA, and the Women’s Center Clinic in Bloomfield Township, Michigan.
Father Imbarrato of Priests for Life joined two other pro-life advocates, Julia Haag and Joan McKee, to provide abortion alternatives inside the abortion clinic. They discovered a totally-packed waiting room — so packed that other women scheduled for abortions were forced to wait in the outside hallway outside the entrance of the abortion facility. They were able to distribute red roses to all those inside the clinic, offering words of encouragement to owmen to not abort their babies.
Abortion clinic staff however rounded up all the women and sequestered them behind the reception area. The pro-lifers then went out into the hallway and continued to talk to the women waiting there for their abortions.
Soon however, the women inside the abortion clinic were allowed to re-enter the waiting room area and the pro-lifers went back into the clinic to speak to them again. At that time, local police rrived and warned the pro-lifers that they were trespassing on private property. By now they had already been inside either the abortion clinic or hallway for over an hour.
The pro-lifers went back to the hallway where women scheduled for abortions were still gathered. The police officers then made a stunning decision and allowed the three pro-life advocates to stay in the hallway as long as they were not told to leave by the owner of the building. Their ability to counsel and witness to the women went on for another hour and 45 minutes before Fr. Imbarrato, Haag and McGee were placed under arrest and removed from the building.
with several others to pray and sidewalk counsel. They were joined by Mary Wagner who conducts her own Red Rose Rescue witness in Canada.
Earlier that day three others entered the Alexandra, Virginia abortion clinic: 24-year-old Lauren Handy, with Lina Mueller and Michael Webb. They were inside the clinic for almost an hour in defense of the unborn before being placed under arrest. This is the second such event to occur at this particular location.
At about 8:15am seven pro-lifers, including Citizens for a Pro-life Society director Monica Migliorino Miller entered Jacob Kalo’s West Bloomfield, MI abortion center. Miller describes what took place:
“We ascended the stairs to the second floor and upon opening the clinic door we saw that the waiting room was already quite full. Two young women of our group entered and simply sat down quietly while Will Goodman, Matthew Connolly, Patrice Woodworth, Robert Kolavy and myself offered red roses to women, some of them were already filling out medical forms in preparation for their abortions. A few of the women accepted the roses, some were hostile. We talked to quite a few of the women or their boyfriends or girlfriends accompanying them for several minutes before clinic staff herded them into a back room. Patrice spoke to two female friends, one of whom was there for an abortion. She told them “God loves you so much and loves your baby. The woman not getting the abortion said: ‘I don’t believe in God.’ Patrice said: ‘Well, He does love you even if you don’t believe in him.’”
“She turned her attention to the woman getting the abortion and encouraged her not to despair. The couple did go into the back room—but shortly after, we saw them exit the door and they left the clinic! They did not speak to us—but we know that the young woman was there for an abortion and she and her girlfriend left. We do not have the consolation of knowing for sure that the baby was saved. All we know is that they left and we can only hope and literally pray that the baby will not be aborted.”
“A boyfriend and another older woman, who had accompanied her friend, opted to remain in the waiting room and I was able to talk to them for several minutes. I did all that I could to convince them to get their friends and leave, but sadly they just wouldn’t do it!”
The rescuers quietly sang hymns such as “Silent Night,” Amazing Grace” and “What Wondrous Love Is This?” until the police arrived and placed each one under arrest.
Five West Bloomfield rescuers were charged with violating the city trespass ordinance as well as resisting/obstructing arrest because they practiced passive resistance. Their first court appearance is Dec. 20th at which they will plead “not guilty” and receive a future trial date.
A group of sidewalk counselors and prayer supporters gathered outside Kalo’s clinic, including veteran pro-life activist Lynn Mills of Pro-Life Michigan as well as Mark Harrington and Sam Reilly of Created Equal.
The goal of the Red Rose Rescue is two-fold—first to reach out to women scheduled for abortions in those last minutes before they will indeed go through with their decision to abort their babies. The RRR is the last chance women scheduled for abortions have to hear a voice encouraging them to give live to their babies. It is the hope of the rescuers that a woman or women will get up and leave the clinic with them.
However, if the unborn are still doomed to die, the pro-lifers, convinced that the unborn deserve to be defended, will remain in the clinic—remain in the place where the executions of the innocent occur and place themselves in solidarity with the unwanted. As long as there is a viable pro-life presence in the abortion center, the killing will most likely not take place.