Catholic Priest and Two Others Sentenced to Jail for Red Rose Rescue

Harsh sentences and extreme pro-abortion laws remind us that abortion is enshrined in our culture — a culture that is dying from the wounds it has inflicted on itself by a total disrespect for human life.

Father Fidelis Moscinski
Father Fidelis Moscinski (photo: Theresa Bonopartis)

Will Goodman, Matthew Connolly and Father Fidelis Moscinski, a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal referred to by the court as “Mr. Christopher Moscinski,” were each sentenced to 90 days in jail and ordered to pay $750 in fines and fees for their role in a Red Rose Rescue this past November at All Women’s Health and Medical Services in White Plains, New York.

All three defendants say they will not pay the fines. If the fees are not paid by February 2023, they face an additional 30 days in jail.

As others with much more serious crimes are set free without bail, why are these three incarcerated?

The answer is simple: they confronted what has become the “god” of abortion. They resisted the dismemberment and killing of the unborn, hidden from the eyes of an indifferent society.

In a Red Rose Rescue like the one that resulted in the arrest of these men, the rescuers peacefully enter an abortion facility waiting room to speak to women scheduled for abortions with the goal of persuading them not to abort. They are offered red roses with a list of resources to assist them in choosing life. Should the woman still choose abortion, the rescuers stay in solidarity with the unborn baby inside the abortion clinic, remaining with them for as long as they can. They use noncompliance in response to being asked to leave the clinic and the police officers carry them out.

Since Dobbs we have been bombarded with article after article in the mainstream media warning us of the ramifications to women if abortion is restricted. We are told that mortality rates will increase, that low income people will suffer, that there will be more violence, that ectopic pregnancy terminations would be barred in some states, and on and on. But perhaps the most astonishing claim to me, as a woman who has had an abortion, appeared in an article on Healthline called “Roe vs Wade: The Mental and Physical Health Effects of Anti-Abortion Laws.” The article lists psychological repercussions, every single one of which has already been experienced by those of us who have suffered from abortion.

In my 30 years of working with women who have experienced the harm of abortion, we have been continually denied our experiences. We repeatedly hear that there is no such thing as post-abortion stress, yet countless numbers of us have suffered, sometimes for decades, from the mental, emotional and sometimes physical damage that abortion has caused.

I would like to address some of the things I heard as I listened to the prosecutor and Judge John Collins at the sentencing on Aug. 2.

Regarding the prosecutor’s repeated mention of the legality of abortion: Yes, abortion is legal in the state of New York. Not only legal but untouchable. Not only that, but taxpayers are forced to pay for them as our governor continues to give money away to abortionists to protect and pay for the killing of unborn children. But just because something is legal does not mean it is right. Slavery was legal and a government was responsible for the exterminations of the Jews.

Judge Collins seems to believe that these men were imposing their will on others instead of being there to help women. I wonder what he and the DA have done to protect women who are going for abortions against their will — coerced by boyfriends, husbands or parents. They would like us to believe abortion is always a free choice but that is far from true. As someone who was coerced as a teen, I know. Many of us would have welcomed the rescuers’ intervention.

In an age when police officers are ducking bottles and punches, Judge Collins expressed concern regarding their safety because of their noncompliance. But this kind of noncompliance has long been a hallmark of civil disobedience. Is Judge Collins as concerned about the arms and legs of the innocent unborn, or the dead bodies of babies who have been aborted?

I saw my dead son. He deserved concern. His life was worthy.

We who have been there are tired of the ongoing denial of the harm abortion causes to countless numbers of people.

We are saddened that young girls are now being made to believe that life will be unbearable without Roe and that they cannot be successful without abortion. Talk about a grave injustice to women! The truth is, for so many, abortion leaves them broken and unable to fulfill their dreams because of the trauma they experience, yet this reality is scoffed at and denied.

Still today, women are locked into silent suffering for fear of being judged by both sides. They are sad and confused because they are constantly being told that they are not allowed to feel as they do. It is ironic how it is not acceptable to struggle because you participated in the death of your own child, but it is perfectly acceptable and promoted if you are denied an abortion.

In the end, this sentencing and the extreme pro-abortion laws of New York and our country is not about women at all, but about abortion itself. It is enshrined in our culture — a culture that is dying from the wounds it has inflicted on itself by a total disrespect for human life.

I wonder how many suffering women the DA or Judge Collins have spoken to? Have they ever even stopped to think about the harm it causes to men? What about siblings who struggle with a million questions to justify their very existence? (“Would my name be the same?” “Would I even be here if that other baby wasn’t aborted?”)

At the sentencing, Judge Collins noted that Father Moscinski mentioned Judgement Day during the trial. Quite mockingly he pronounced the maximum sentence, stating, “Today is your judgment day.” In the end it just may be that the sacrifice of this priest leads to his very salvation.

Theresa Bonopartis is the Director of Lumina/Hope and Healing After Abortion, a program for those who are suffering from a past abortion.