FBI Arrests 9 Pro-Life Advocates for Saving Babies at Late-Term Abortion Clinic

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 31, 2022   |   3:43PM   |   Washington, DC

The federal government accused nine pro-life advocates of civil rights violations Wednesday for allegedly blocking the entrance to a late-term abortion facility in Washington, D.C. in an attempt to save babies’ lives.

The FBI arrested pro-life advocate Lauren Handy, director of activism for the Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU), and eight others on charges of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act and conspiracy against rights, the Associated Press reports.

The other pro-life advocates facing charges are Jonathan Darnel, of Virginia; Jay Smith, John Hinshaw, and William Goodman, of New York; Joan Bell, of New Jersey; Paulette Harlow and Jean Marshall, of Massachusetts; and Heather Idoni, of Michigan, according to a news release from the Department of Justice.

The nine participated in a “rescue,” a controversial action in the pro-life movement in which pro-lifers block the entrance to an abortion facility and refuse to leave for the purpose of stopping unborn babies from being aborted.

The rescue occurred on Oct. 22, 2020 at a Washington, D.C. abortion facility. The department did not identify the name of the facility, but pro-life advocates said it was the Washington Surgi-Center, which advertises late-term abortions at “27 plus weeks of pregnancy” – long past the point when unborn babies are viable outside the womb.

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Prosecutors said the nine pro-life advocates “engaged in a conspiracy to create a blockade” by calling the facility and scheduling a fake appointment. Then, after they gained entrance, they used chains, ropes, furniture and their bodies to block the entrances to the facility, according to the department.

“Their intention was to reach out to women who were scheduled for abortion and to defend unborn scheduled to be killed at the clinic owned by abortionist Cesare F. Santangelo,” a pro-life advocate familiar with the situation told LifeNews.

The pro-life advocate continued:

The rescuers were initially charged with a D.C. trespass ordinance. The nine pro-lifers have been waiting for an initial court appearance to be scheduled. However, unbeknownst to the nine defendants the Department of Justice convened a grand jury to review the charges. The Grand Jury indicted the nine defendants, and the indictment was “unsealed” Wednesday, March 30, 2022. As a consequence, warrants were immediately issued and eight of the nine pro-lifers were literally rounded up in an FBI raid of their homes and places of work.

The Department of Justice accused the nine pro-lifers of “using a physical obstruction to injure, intimidate and interfere with the clinic’s employees and a patient, because they were providing or obtaining reproductive health services.”

The pro-lifers could be sentenced to up to 11 years in prison and fines of up to $350,000, if convicted.

On Wednesday, PAAU posted a photo on social media showing Handy being arrested by the FBI. Later in the day, the organization said Handy had been released from custody.

“Media reports have stated that we ‘invaded’ the abortion center and ‘disrupted’ women from exercising their ‘reproductive rights,’” Handy said in a statement provided to LifeNews. “No, that is not what we did. We entered the clinic and sought to love the women who were already there for their abortion procedures. We tried to offer them help so they would choose life. We non-violently defended the unborn who were about to be exterminated – the innocent, the most vulnerable, killed in horrific acts of violence and treated as so much trash.”

Handy said they are not surprised that the Department of Justice, controlled by the pro-abortion Biden administration, brought charges against them all for trying to save unborn babies.

The Life Legal Defense Foundation and the Thomas More Society are representing the pro-lifers.

Such illegal actions are controversial in the pro-life movement. Though the pro-life advocates were not violent or destructive and their intentions were to save unborn babies’ from violence, their actions were illegal. The pro-life movement is committed to peaceful, non-violent, lawful actions to end to abortion and restore unborn babies’ right to life.