(LifeSiteNews) — The judge presiding over the ongoing trial of activists who oppose abortion in Washington, D.C., on Monday rebuked an attorney for attempting to correct an abortion-staffer’s mischaracterization of Catholicism and then admonished a Catholic nun for “intimidation” for praying a Hail Mary.
“It’s a kind of madness,” said Monica Miller, director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, in an interview with LifeSiteNews on Monday near the district courthouse where the trial is being held. The group of activists currently on trial faces over a decade behind bars and other penalties for blocking access to the Washington Surgi-Clinic in downtown Washington, D.C., in a “traditional rescue” in October 2020.
In her comments to LifeSite, Miller recapped some of the most explosive aspects of the trial so far, including the testimony of an abortion staffer called in by prosecutors on Monday who testified about her “Catholic faith” despite assisting with abortions.
“She was allowed to go on and on at least four times in her testimony about how Catholic she was and that her working in the abortion center was consistent with her Catholicism,” Miller said, explaining that the situation created frustration for the defense attorneys, particularly Robert Dunn, a devout Catholic, which evolved into conflict with the judge.
“The jury’s hearing, you know, frankly, something that’s completely scandalous. And so Robert Dunn wanted to correct her mischaracterization of Catholicism,” Miller explained. However, after a 15-minute break, the judge opted to admonish Dunn for “unprofessional” behavior for correcting the witness.
“That’s very unprofessional,” Judge Kollar-Kotelly said. “And you’ve talked back to me several times. You’re here as a defense attorney, not a Catholic theologian.”
Shortly thereafter, the judge admonished Catholic nun Sister Deirdre Byrne for praying a Hail Mary as the witness passed by her, accusing the nun of engaging in an “intimidation tactic” by praying.
“The judge has to realize this is a way to try and evangelize, to try and provoke this poor woman’s conscience who flaunts her Catholicism,” Miller said.
In her comments to LifeSite on Monday, the third day of the trial, Miller also weighed in on some of the case’s earlier developments, including the testimony of former rescuer Caroline Davis, who Miller knew first-hand as a young woman “on fire” for the pro-life cause.
As LifeSiteNews previously reported, Davis testified on behalf of the government after taking a plea deal to have a felony charge for a previous rescue reduced to a misdemeanor.
According to Miller, Davis was likely motivated partly through fear of jail time and partly through justifying her rejection of the rescue movement.
“I think someone poisoned her, thinking she has justified in her own heart and in her own mind and in her own conscience that ‘it was a good thing for me to testify against my fellow rescuers, people that I rescued with,’” Miller said.
She added that she believes it’s “unprecedented in the history of the pro-life movement, that another pro-lifer, another Christian, would testify against other Christians and other pro-lifers.”
“It’s kind of a tragedy,” Miller said.
A pro-life hero who has been engaging in pro-life rescues since 1978, Miller told LifeSite that rescues like the one undertaken in October 2020 by a group of activists attempting to stop mothers from killing their preborn children, are about “putting the Gospel into practice.”
She said rescues are an “act of love” and “an act of charity” for the unborn babies and their mothers.
“Abortion is the killing of completely defenseless, innocent human beings,” Miller said. “They deserve someone to at least stand in the way or to make a final plea, as we do in Red Rose Rescues, to defend them, to witness on their behalf.”
While she said that sidewalk counseling is “backbone of pro-life activism,” rescues are about going “that extra step” and showing, “if you’re going to kill this unborn child, you have to deal with me in some way. I’m going to stand up for this baby.”
LifeSiteNews encourages our readers to pray for all the pro-lifers currently facing trial in D.C. and for Caroline Davis.