The trial of five pro-lifers facing federal charges for allegedly violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act continues this week with closing arguments expected today.
Lauren Handy, Will Goodman, John Hinshaw, Heather Idoni, and Herb Geraghty could face up to 11 years in federal prison if convicted of charges that include violating the FACE Act.
The charges are in connection with a sit-in that took place at the D.C.-based Washington Surgi-Clinic late-term abortion facility in October 2020.
The five pro-lifers named in this trial – plus another five pro-life activists – made plans for a sit-in protest at the facility. They sang, prayed out loud, locked arms in front of the facility’s staff entrance, and attached themselves to rope and chains to block doors in the building as a means to “delay the murder of kids.”
Police arrived and attempted to remove the pro-lifers and who were indicted on the claims that they conspired to obstruct the “right to reproductive health services.”
As CBN News reported, Handy, who is the lead defendant in this trial, made headlines last year after authorities recovered the fully formed bodies of five aborted babies that she had discovered.
Handy, a pro-life activist with Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU), and another pro-life activist Terrisa Bukovinac, obtained a box containing the aborted babies outside of the Washington Surgi-Clinic in March 2022. Five of those babies were full-term.
Handy is currently on trial for a completely different case, but her supporters argue that the five unborn babies’ bodies should be seen as evidence that her actions at the facility in 2020 were justified, according to World News Group.
Meanwhile, U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly refused video evidence earlier this week that Handy’s legal team claimed revealed her primary motivation for choosing WSC as a place for her activism.
A Live Action undercover investigation from 2012 shows Dr. Cesare Santangelo, who runs WSC, admitting that any children accidentally born alive during abortions would not receive any medical assistance to survive — neglect that is illegal under federal law.
Live Action’s investigation further confirmed that Dr. Santangelo uses the method of cutting the umbilical cord and waiting for the child to die instead of administering a lethal injection, drastically increasing the chance that a child may be born alive and then killed, which is illegal.
After seeing that Live Action video, Handy, left her full-time job to defend preborn babies and take risks to save their lives.
But Kollar-Kotelly claimed without proof that the video was “heavily edited,” claiming the abortionist’s video confession is just “gossip from propagandists.”
Judge Kollar-Kotelly has disallowed @LiveAction‘s undercover footage of late-term abortionist Cesare Santangelo admitting he would leave a baby to die if it were born alive after a failed abortion
5 pro-lifers face 11 years in prison for trying to stop this infanticide pic.twitter.com/pvdjfZxySj
— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) August 22, 2023
The judge has also barred Handy from sharing photos of the babies with the jury, calling them “incendiary” and suggested at one point that Handy’s defense team was trying to make the case about the morality of abortion.
President and Founder of Live Action, Lila Rose, called out Kollar-Kotelly’s strong pro-abortion bias.
“We are seeing a horrific abuse of our justice system that five pro-life activists are potentially facing eleven years in prison for peaceful pro-life activism. If members of the Department of Justice actually cared about doing their job, they would investigate and bring Cesare Santangelo to justice for the children he has mutilated and killed. Instead, the Biden DOJ is nothing more than an abortion interest group, albeit one with the power of ruining lives by bringing unjust decade-long prison charges,” Rose said.
She continued, “It is also scandalous that this judge has refused to admit as evidence into the trial the Live Action video which inspired Lauren Handy’s pro-life activism regarding this specific abortion facility. Live Action reporting holds itself to the highest standards of journalistic integrity and excellence. Live Action reported the facts, straight from the mouth of the notorious late-term abortionist Cesare Santangelo, and our organization always releases and posts the full, unedited raw footage of every investigation. When Santangelo told our reporter that he would ‘not help’ a child born alive during a failed abortion attempt, we should take him at his word. We have inspired thousands to take action to defend innocent human lives and end the ongoing tragedy of abortion in America.”
Five additional pro-lifers who took part in the October 2020 sit-in face the same charges, but will have separate trials.
The current trial for the other five protestors is expected to continue for the remainder of the week.