Pro-life protesters jailed, then released after 'Red Rose Rescue' mission at abortion centers

A pro-life group is symbolically gagged during a vigil in front of the Supreme Court in Washington DC. | Wikimedia Commons/Ben Schumin

Pro-life protesters in two different cities in the U.S. were arrested for simultaneously entering abortion facilities in order to persuade women not to abort their babies.

On Friday, six pro-life protesters, including two priests, were arrested at an abortion facility in Virginia and charged with trespass and obstruction of justice.

According to Life Site News, Joan Andrews Bell, Joan McKee, Julia Haag, Bonnie Borel-Donohue, Franciscan Father of the Renewal Fr. Fidelis Moscinski, and Fr. Stephen Imbarrato were arrested at the Alexandria Women's Health Clinic in Alexandria at 10:30 a.m. The activists were released at 4:30 p.m., but they are still expected to appear for an arraignment on Sept. 21.

Four protesters, who were taking part in a campaign called "Red Rose Rescue," were also arrested at an abortion facility in Michigan that same day. Monica Migliorino Miller, Will Goodman, Abby McIntyre and Matthew Connolly were charged with trespassing for entering Northland Family Planning in Sterling Heights, a suburb of Detroit, but they were released later that morning.

The pro-life activists who entered the abortion facilities offered red roses symbolizing life to mothers seated in the waiting rooms. The roses came with a card that said: "You were made to love and to be loved ... Your goodness is greater than the difficulties of your situation. Circumstances in life change. A new life, however tiny, brings the promise of unrepeatable joy." It also included contact details of local pregnancy help centers.

Two women also entered University of New Mexico Center for Reproductive Health in Albuquerque to offer a woman a red rose and support, but they managed to avoid getting arrested.

Imbarrato, who is working full time with Priests for Life, said that three women "may have changed their minds or left" after the protesters entered the abortion facility in Virginia and began counseling the women in the waiting room.

"We did decide to offer passive resistance to try and paralyze the operation of the abortion facility for as long as possible," he said.

"For all intents and purposes, the place was locked down for the bulk of the time we were there. Once the police got there, they locked the door to the facility, so nobody came in ... One gal came in and it looks like she left," he added.

The Red Rose Rescue campaign was modeled after the efforts of Canadian pro-life activist Mary Wagner, who entered abortion clinics in Toronto and offered red roses to pregnant women.

On Tuesday, Wagner was sentenced to 30 months' probation for charges in connection with her arrest at a Toronto abortion facility in December. The Canadian activist had already spent five years in jail, including six months awaiting trial for her last arrest, for her pro-life activities. She was also present at the Michigan rally to offer prayer support.