By Sarah Neely

Washington, D.C. – Rescue has a long history in the pro-life movement, starting in the 1980s when Operation Rescue was formed and led the largest movement involving peaceful civil disobedience in American history. During those early years, thousands of men and women willingly sat in front of abortion mill doors to prevent the killing of innocent children and paid the penalty in arrest and prosecution on trespassing charges.

For the last few years, that peaceful movement has seen a revival and, just as before, abortion extremists like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are weaponizing the law to trample these peaceful and powerful demonstrations. 

This week, sentencing began for nine pro-life rescuers who have remained incarcerated for nine months for participating in a peaceful rescue during October 2020.

The rescue took place at Washington Surgi-Clinic in Washington D.C. – a late-term abortion clinic operated by the notorious abortionist Cesare Santangelo. Some of the same rescuers facing sentencing this week also recovered 115 aborted babies from the driver of a medical waste van outside Santangelo’s facility just a few months before the rescue took place. These babies were well developed – second and possibly third trimester – and there was no little suspicion that Santangelo may have illegally murdered some of them born alive during an abortion. 

Years before, Santangelo was exposed in an undercover investigation readily admitting he would not help a child with life-saving efforts if he or she survived a late-term abortion.

“Biden’s DOJ took very little notice of these babies’ mutilated bodies, possibly killed illegally right in the capital of our nation,” Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue, commented.  “Instead, Biden has made every effort to prosecute and persecute those he clearly considers his political enemies – peaceful, pro-life citizens willing to stand firm for babies in the womb.”

Lauren Handy was the first to be sentenced this week, receiving 4 years and 9 months in prison. John Hinshaw’s sentence was also handed down, receiving 1 year and 9 months. 

Five more rescuers are set to be sentenced this week, including Joan Andrews Bell, recipient of Operation Rescue’s 2023 Person of the Year Malachi Award. Another two will be sentenced later in the month. Each defendant faces up to eleven years in prison. 

“We continue to pray for these courageous men and women who were willing to put their own bodies between a preborn child and the brutal death that is abortion. No matter how hard the Biden administration tries to suppress the rights of American citizens, compassionate, peaceful pro-lifers will continue to stand firm, not only for the right to life for every child in the womb, but also for the right to peacefully assemble. I can only hope and pray voters remember the DOJ’s appalling persecution of these peaceful citizens when they go to vote.”

To find out more about these and other rescuers currently incarcerated, please visit Operation Rescue’s up-to-date list of Prisoners for Christ

In accordance with Hebrews 13:3, Operation Rescue encourages you to pray for these pro-life heroes and even send them notes of encouragement. Addresses have been provided on the webpage.

Operation Rescue will continue reporting as more sentences are handed down. 

“Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.” (Hebrews 13:3)