Four Ohio abortion activists are facing charges after they disrupted a pro-life Catholic Mass and shouted “grossly abusive language” in front of young children in January.
The Columbus Dispatch reports three of the abortion activists were charged with misdemeanors and a fourth was charged with criminal damage as well as misdemeanors for their actions at the St. Joseph Cathedral Downtown in Columbus.
On Jan. 22, Ohio police had to forcibly remove the abortion activists from the cathedral after they disrupted the Respect Life Mass, which is held annually on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade to pray for an end to abortion.
According to court records, Jordyn Close, 24; Michelle M. Davis, 39; Mason Hickman, 24; and Anne Morrice, 35, have been charged with disorderly conduct and criminal trespass. Morrice also was charged with criminal damage for knocking over a table, according to the report.
Here’s more from the Dispatch:
Complaints filed by police in court stated that the defendants caused inconvenience, annoyance and alarm to four named diocesan officials, the congregation in attendance and those watching online by “making unreasonable noise and … grossly abusive language.” It also states that they yelled “this church teaches hate,” “Roe is the floor; we demand more” and that they stood on the pulpit screaming and holding signs in support of abortion.
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The complaint also said that the protesters refused to leave after being told to do so by a police officer.
Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, said they are relieved to see that justice is being pursued.
“Even our pro-choice city attorney recognizes that the rule of law must always apply and our churches are sacred institutions,” he said. “Menacing others and yelling vulgarities at a church service at which young children were present is both unlawful and unconscionable.”
Columbus Bishop Robert Brennan, who led the Mass, thanked the Columbus City Attorney’s Office and the Columbus Police Department on Monday for protecting church-goers.
“We are also thankful for the proactive concern shown by our city’s leaders in supporting people of faith and their right to worship in peace and free of disruption,” Brennan said in a statement.
Meanwhile, abortion advocacy groups including NARAL, Planned Parenthood and the Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice issued statements supporting the abortion activists, arguing that they conducted a “brief peaceful protest.”
A video of the event on the Dispatch website, however, shows otherwise.
At some point during the Mass, abortion activists entered the cathedral with signs and began shouting, “Two, four, six, eight, this church teaches hate” as they walked around the sanctuary, according to the report.
They carried signs that read “Fund abortion, not cops” and “Abortion on demand, end Hyde now,” referring to the Hyde Amendment, which bans taxpayer-funded abortions. One wore a pink Planned Parenthood T-shirt, according to photos from the newspaper.
The video shows a police officer forcibly removing at least one abortion activist and escorting the others out of the church. Outside, the video shows several of them giving the middle finger and shouting “f— you” to the police and churchgoers who were standing in front of the door.
Gonidakis said love, not hatred, is what makes the world a better place.
“Faithful pro-lifers seek to grieve not only for the children whose lives have been gruesomely ended by abortion but also for the countless women who have been deeply hurt by it,” he said. “Our hearts go out to everyone who was victimized by these protesters … Pro-Life Ohio remains committed to our peaceful and prayerful advocacy which is grounded in our love for the most vulnerable. Love, not hate, for each and every human life has the power to make our world a better place.”