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Catholic priest jailed for protest at abortion clinic in New York

A Catholic priest and pro-life activist has been sentenced to six months in federal prison by a New York court for blocking access to a Planned Parenthood abortion facility.

The Franciscan friar, Father Fidelis Moscinski, told the judge that a law criminalising his actions was “null and void” and that he was justified in placing locks and chains on the gated entrance of the abortion clinic.

“My actions… were done because Planned Parenthood as an organization is in the business of killing. This pseudo-law seeks to cloak the act of killing preborn children under the euphemistic and Orwellian language of ‘reproductive health care’. I am not guilty of violating this law because this law cannot be seen as anything other than null and void since it attempts to give legal protection to actions which are intrinsically evil and unjust.”

Father Moscinski was found guilty of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which imposes penalties for obstructing access to an abortion facility or a pregnancy centre. He was given the maximum sentence of six months in prison.

He is a member of American pro-life direct action group, Red Rose Rescue. According to their website their volunteers “peacefully talk to women scheduled for abortion, with the goal of persuading them to choose life”. 

Their ‘Rescue Code of Conduct’ states “Those who participate in Red Rose Rescue will refrain from violence of any kind in the Red Rose Rescue mission. Christian non-violence is a pledge not to fight back, but to imitate Jesus in His Passion who offered no resistance to injury”. 

Red Rose Rescue says that Father Moscinski acted on his own behalf and his action had not been authorized by the group.

He has previously been arrested for his pro-life activism, but this is the first time he has been found guilty of violating the FACE Act. Last year, he was detained for trespassing in an abortion clinic after entering the facility in protest and refusing to leave when ordered by staff and then by police.

Father Moscinski declared: “Every procured abortion that occurs on Planned Parenthood’s premises constitutes the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. Furthermore, these bloody and violent acts also cause grave spiritual and psychological harm to the mother of the child. All of my actions then and now are directed solely towards preventing the murder of defenceless children and the wounding of their mothers.”

Another Red Rose Rescue activist, Laura Gies was sentenced on the 30th of June. 


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