Appeal brief filed in state's attack on pro-life activists

(Photo by Laura Ohlman on Unsplash)
(Photo by Laura Ohlman on Unsplash)

The American Freedom Law Center says it has filed its opening brief in the Michigan Court of Appeals contesting the felony convictions of four Red Rose Rescuers who peacefully entered an abortion business in Flint, Michigan, in 2019 to try to save unborn babies – and their mothers – from abortion’s injuries.

“This case involved the peaceful exercise of conscience by four individuals (the Red Rose Rescuers) who object to abortion on moral and religious grounds and who understand firsthand the harm caused by this horrific procedure to both the unborn babies and their mothers. At most, this was a misdemeanor trespass case. Unfortunately, the pro-abortion prosecutor transformed it into a felony. The rescuers are now seeking justice in the Michigan Court of Appeals,” explained AFLC senior counsel Robert Muise.

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The brief explains:

On June 7, 2019, [the rescuers] peacefully entered the Women’s Health Center in Flint, Michigan—an abortion center. No violent act was committed by any [rescuer]. No violent act was threatened by any [rescuer]. No [rescuer] assaulted, battered, or wounded any police officer. No [rescuer] possessed any weapons. No [rescuer] fled or attempted to flee the scene upon the arrival of the police officers. [The rescuers] were peaceful throughout. Yet, [they] are now convicted felons for what amounts to a peaceful trespass.

[The rescuers] remained on the premises of the abortion center that day to witness for life and to remain in solidarity with those who would be harmed by abortion. The police officers arrested [the rescuers] for refusing to leave the abortion center (a simple trespass charge). Upon their arrests, [the rescuers] engaged in a time-honored act reminiscent of the civil rights movement that is often described as “passive resistance,” although that description is inaccurate here because [the rescuers] offered no resistance—they simply went limp. [The rescuers] explained to the officers that they could not morally assist with their own arrests. As a matter of conscience, [the rescuers] could not assist the officers with their arrests because doing so made them morally complicit in the killing of innocent lives. But [the rescuers] did nothing that prevented the officers from exercising their police authority and arresting them. [The rescuers] were in fact arrested and carried off the property.

The legal team continued, with an explanation that “There is a difference between actively resisting or actively obstructing an arrest and simply not assisting in your own arrest, particularly when the arrestee’s conscience prohibits such active participation, as in this case.”

The protesters simply were abiding by their sincerely held religious beliefs.

The legal team, in addition to seeking reversal of the felony convictions, is seeking reversal of a lower court’s decision that denied them jury instructions on the defense of others and necessity.

AFLC co-founder David Yerushalmi added, “We all watched with horror as Antifa and the Black Lives Matter movement engaged in damaging acts of violence throughout the country with impunity. On a daily basis, we witness Leftwing, Soros-funded prosecutors turning a blind eye to serious and violent crimes, allowing their cities to become ravaged by violent criminals. Yet, here, we have a prosecutor in Flint, Michigan—a crime-ridden city—pursuing felony charges in this case. There is undoubtedly a two-tiered system of justice in our country. Something has to change.”

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It was the Daily Caller News Foundation that reported only days earlier that in nearby New York, Attorney General Letitia James sued members of the Red Rose Rescue group.

James’ lawsuit argues that RRR’s history of trespassing and interference at abortion clinics makes the group dangerous and that it was her responsibility to protect New Yorkers from “terrorists.” The attorney general made the announcement during a press conference alongside Planned Parenthood New York Action Fund/Planned Parenthood Greater New York Executive Director and Chief External Affairs Officer Dipal Shah and several other abortion advocates, the foundation report said.

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