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.
Father Fidelis Moscinski, a Franciscan friar, told Judge Steven Tiscione that a law criminalising his actions was ‘null and void’ and that he was justified in placing locks and chains on the gated entrance.
“My actions … were done because Planned Parenthood as an organization is in the business of killing,” Moscinski told the judge, according to his remarks provided by the pro-life organization Red Rose Rescue to the Catholic News Agency.
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.
“This pseudo-law seeks to cloak the act of killing preborn children under the euphemistic and Orwellian language of ‘reproductive health care,’” Moscinski told the court in a written statement.
“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 is a member of American pro-life direct action group, Red Rose Rescue, which says on its website that their rescuers ‘peacefully talk to women scheduled for abortion, with the goal of persuading them to choose life’.
It states in its ‘Rescue Code of Conduct’ that ‘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 Fr Moscinski’s effort to block access to an abortion clinic was not sanctioned by the group and that its members are sole agents when staging a protest.
“Every procured abortion that occurs on [Planned Parenthood’s] premises constitutes the deliberate killing of an innocent human being,” Moscinski declared in his statement to the judge.
“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.”
Moscinski 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 arrested for trespassing in an abortion clinic after entering the facility in protest and refusing to leave when ordered by staff and then by police.
According to Red Rose Rescue, activist Laura Gies will be sentenced on 30 June for her part in a similar Red Rose Rescue in 2021.