Priest Receives 3 Months in Jail for Sitting in Abortion Clinic Too Long
A Franciscan friar and two fellow activists have been sentenced to 90 days in jail for refusing to leave the waiting room of a New York abortion clinic for two hours.
Rev. Christopher “Fidelis” Moscinski, 52, of the Bronx, a member of the anti-abortion group Red Rose Rescue, was convicted in March of trespassing in the third degree, along with Matthew Connolly, 40, of Minnesota and William Goodman, 52, of Wisconsin.
The three were accused of entering and refusing to leave the lobby of All Women’s Health and Medical Services in White Plains, New York, in November 2021, according to the New York Post.
They remained in the lobby for approximately two hours, during which time they were asked repeatedly to leave by staff and then White Plains Police.
According to the group’s defense attorney Steve Anduze, the men were found guilty of entering the building and refusing to leave. However, contrary to claims from prosecutors, the men’s lawyers maintain that they did not block access to the women seeking medical care there.
Father Fidelis Moscinski, C.F.R., being arrested during a Red Rose Rescue campaign at an abortion clinic in White Plains, New York. pic.twitter.com/mSE4AhZDBL
— Sachin Jose (@Sachinettiyil) November 30, 2021
“All they did was hand out roses to the patients in the waiting room and offer them alternatives to abortion and supportive services,” he told The Journal News.
“They were giving the women roses in the waiting room, and they were offering alternatives to abortion. They were telling them that there were services available to them, they had the opportunity to choose a different path, they wanted to save the lives of the unborn.”
Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah claimed the men were “occupying the waiting room, rendering it unusable” while one of them blocked the door with his body, the New York Post reported.
In a Facebook post published on November 27, Red Rose Rescue shared some quotes from Goodman.
“We stayed inside the building to be faithful patient advocates for the moms and their tiny little ones in the womb,” Goodman said. “In conscience, we could not leave while innocent people were in harm’s way.”
According to the post, “approximately seven mothers entered the facility” during the incident. “One mother freely chose to leave the abortuary, and was in tears as she departed.”
“We have great hope that our witness for life today touched the hearts and minds of each mom,” Laura Gies, another pro-life advocate, said, according to the Facebook post.
In another Facebook post from Red Rose Rescue, the pro-life group shared some quotes that Goodman and Moscinski reportedly shared at the sentencing.
“We are here for the equality of all people from the beginning of life to the end of life and for the solidarity we can share with the mom, the child, and the father and we are here to help,” Goodman said.
“Isaiah said woe to those who call good evil and evil good. Woe to those who call abortion a right,” Moscinski said, according to the group.
During their time in court, Connolly “refused to speak to be in solidarity with the unborn whose voices were unjustly taken from them,” according to the Facebook post.
Rev. Moscinski told the judge, “You disallowed the justification defense and that injustice was compounded by the jury and also by the sentencing you have given, I plead the blood of Jesus on this court room.”
“You quoted judgement day in your case and today is your judgement day,” the judge replied, according to Red Rose Rescue.
The group explained in the Facebook post that the quotes might not be exact because they were “hastily written down” afterward, as electronics weren’t permitted in the courtroom.
Rocah pushed for the maximum sentence of 90 days, the New York Post reported. She also told reporters that the men were “physically carried” out of the office by police after ignoring warnings from police and the staff.
In addition to the jail time, the three men also were given a $500 fine and ordered to pay $200 in legal fees and $50 for DNA testing.
The Post reported that the three men “compared the legal system to Nazi Germany during the trial” and said they refused to pay their fines and court fees, which could result in another month of prison.
“The District Attorney’s Office will vigorously prosecute any criminal acts that interfere with an individual’s constitutional right to freely access health care,” Rocah said, according to The Journal News. “There are no insignificant cases when it comes to the protection of reproductive rights.”
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