After Washington DC juries convicted nine pro-life defendants associated with an abortion mill rescue in 2020 earlier this month, Life Legal’s battle for their freedom is far from over. The defendants were taken into custody immediately after the trial and are still in jail, awaiting sentencing.
The defendants were charged with violation of the “Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances” (FACE) Act during a rescue at the Washington Surgi-Clinic in October of 2020. After entering the clinic, the defendants advocated nonviolently for the lives of the unborn. The arrests were the result of the Department of Justice’s “Reproductive Rights Task Force,” assembled to carry out President Biden’s instructions to protect access to abortion at all costs. Despite its title, the Department of Justice pursued anything but a just trial for the pro-lifers.
The defense was meticulous in its selection of jury members and the presentation of its witnesses and evidence. The jury was shown an unimpeachable case – our defendant acted peacefully and in no way violated the FACE Act. This was not enough. At every turn, the defense was stymied. Insisting on the fiction that the clinic and the charges were about “reproductive healthcare” instead of abortion, the government was implacable – even attacking pro-life spectators in the courtroom. Despite these challenges, the defense presented an honest and hard-fought case, an effort nothing short of the dedication that the pro-life movement deserves. They are not finished.
Unbidden by the government, immediately following the guilty verdicts, Judge Kollar-Kotelly jailed each of the defendants notwithstanding none has yet been sentenced. Life Legal is now preparing to appeal. Our affiliate attorney assures, “The court erred. We are optimistic about the appeal.”
Written by Catherine Kiyonaga, who attended the trial of the first five defendants. Catherine is an aspiring attorney and is serving a legal fellowship with Life Legal.