Jailed pro-lifer explains why rescues are worth suffering legal consequences – LifeSite

Editor’s note: John Hinshaw is being held in federal custody at the Alexandria Detention Center, Alexandria, Virginia,along with six other pro-life activists for participating in a traditional pro-life rescue of the unborn at a late-term abortion center in Washington, D.C. Hinshaw was just sentenced to 21 months in prison, with credit for 9 months already served, by pro-abortion Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly under charges of violations of the FACE Act and “conspiracy against rights.” 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — Since my conviction and imprisonment in August 2023 for the October 2020 pro-life rescue at the late-term abortuary of Cesare Santangelo (see #justiceforthefive), I have been asked many times to write down my reasons for rescuing. I have held back to this point for many reasons, mostly personal. With my sentencing coming on Tuesday, May 14, I will now disclose my long list of reasons. 

In so doing, I revisit in my mind a letter I wrote for my pro-life friends in January 1988, inviting them to join Operation Rescue in May 1988 in New York City. Many of these friends responded by rescuing. In the letter I gave some reasons to rescue, but at that time I had not yet rescued myself, so I have discovered many more reasons since then.   

READ: So much is at stake in next week’s sentencing of the ‘DC Nine’ jailed pro-lifers 

Since history has been censored in the intervening years, let me inform many of the youngsters out there that Operation Rescue was one of the most successful pro-life efforts of all time.  It ignited the movement, spread all over the country, and dwarfed every other civil disobedience effort in our nation’s history; yes, even Dr. King’s noble civil rights effort. It saved more lives than anyone can count. Proof of its success is how feminist leaders Hillary Clinton and Janet Reno hurriedly wrote and passed an unconstitutional FACE Law to target pro-lifers.  

After all these years, here’s what I have found out: 

  1. A rescue, completely committed to non-violence, disrupts the killing scheduled for that abortion mill on that day. It may, if there are enough rescuers, even close the mill for the whole day. Even the pro- abortionists admit that if something causes a woman to miss her scheduled abortion, she frequently does not re-schedule. They know that delays give a woman a chance to calm down and listen to the deeper desires of her heart. Abortion profiteers have always preyed upon the mother’s initial panic. 
  2. By disrupting the day, rescuers provide sidewalk counselors more time and opportunity to speak with the mothers and offer help. 
  3. Pro-life rescuing is the most psychologically appropriate response to the horror of a child being pulled apart. If your neighbor is in his yard cutting up his children, you do not go back inside to write your congressman or a “strong letter to The Times.” If that were your response, you are already psychologically unhealthy and you won’t be getting better. You know that decorum and your neighbor’s property rights become less than secondary due to his actions. And the abortionist is your neighbor. In my town, we once had two abortuaries in the same office building located in the busiest strip mall in the county! 
  4. If you choose to go back inside and write that letter you will find it grow easier to accept the next, worse horror. Until you stop noticing the horror. Are we there already? Do you see yet how we got the Holocaust in Nazi Germany? 
  5. In the Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost seasons, it is easy to remember Acts 5:27-32 – “We must obey God rather than man.” 
  6. Same seasons, same Peter: (1 Peter 3:13-15) “But even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you.” 
  7. When rescuing, pro-lifers are telling the truth with their actions! The truth Roe v.Wade denied, and Dobbs only hinted at. 
  8. That truth declares a child’s life is worth our arrest, trial, and imprisonment. 
  9. The complete commitment to non-violence – including removal of any rescuers for threatening or menacing – demonstrates love, patience, and humility in pleading for the lives of children. 
  10. The positioning of our bodies, along with prayers and song, present intercession without confrontation. 
  11. By rescuing we bring the focus back to the machinery of the abortion mill, where the horror and depression are real, and we are not discussing abstracts in an antiseptic media atmosphere of “feminist rights.” 
  12. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., not a Catholic, was in firm agreement with the very Catholic St. Thomas Aquinas, that “An unjust law is no law at all.” 
  13. King also famously said: “Unearned suffering is redemptive.” Our sacrifices can be reparation for our guilty country, legal system, medical system, educational system, etc. 
  14. Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, once said that “[r]escuing gives feet to our prayers.” The Spirit moves when we move. 
  15. Rescue puts the abortion issue back in front of our citizenry as the next “irrepressible conflict” that we can’t seem to resolve. Americans have deliberately turned their head away and plugged their ears to try to stop facing abortion. As the body count rises, that gets harder. 
  16. Rescue draws more political tension to the issue and makes possible change for the better. 
  17. Despite media censorship, rescue provides an opportunity to witness and educate. 
  18. In our trials we can give witness to all aspects of unborn life, brutal acts of abortionists, and hypocrisy of law. 
  19. In our trials we are able to speak truth to power. 
  20. It has been noted by several political leaders that every significant change to American polity throughout our history has been accompanied by civil disobedience and subsequent unjust imprisonment. 

LifeSiteNews’ extensive coverage of the D.C. FACE Act trials can be found HERE.


Pro-lifer Heather Idoni accuses DC jail of gross medical neglect after recent stroke 

Jailed pro-lifer denied essential heart medication following stroke  

LifeSite letter to Congress: DOJ is torturing pro-lifers jailed in DC FACE Act trials  

Previous ArticleNext Article