‘Tragic injustice’: Clinton-appointed judge sentences pro-life rescuer to nearly 5 years in jail over peaceful protest

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Clinton-appointed judge has sentenced pro-life activist Lauren Handy to four years and nine months in prison plus three years’ supervision for peacefully speaking out in support of the lives lost and threatened at an infamous late-term abortion clinic in the nation’s capital.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly’s heavy-handed sentence in Handy’s case, which was just one year shy of what Biden’s
admittedly pro-abortion Department of Justice advocated for, has been blasted by Republicans and other pro-life activists.

‘Meanwhile, abortionists who dismember and kill children walk free. A grave injustice!’

The Thomas More Society, which defended Handy in the case, has indicated it will proceed with an appeal on behalf of Handy, not only to overturn her conviction but to challenge the constitutionality of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, under which she was convicted in August.

Other pro-life rescuers who took part in the peaceful 2020 protest appear to also be headed to prison, including John Hinshaw, who was sentenced Tuesday to 21 months in prison.

Background

Handy, 30, is the director of activism and mutual aid for Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising.

According to its website, PAAU is “committed to the progressive feminist values of equality, non-violence, and nondiscrimination through an anti-capitalist lens. … We’re committed to unparalleled bravery and to always challenging the oppressive status quo. We’re committed to ending elective abortion to matter how long it takes.”

Blaze News
previously reported that Handy and four other PAAU activists — John Hinshaw, Heather Idoni, William Goodman, and Herb Geraghty — were convicted of FACE Act violations last year for supposedly blocking access on Oct. 22, 2020, to the Washington Surgi-Clinic, operated by the late-term abortionist Cesare Santangelo.

The FACE Act prohibits anyone from obstructing the entrance to an abortion clinic or intimidating or interfering with a woman attempting to have her unborn baby exterminated.

The Biden DOJ
claimed that Handy partook in a “clinic blockade that was directed by Handy and was broadcast on Facebook. The defendants conspired to and did forcefully enter the clinic and block access to the clinic using their bodies, furniture, chains and ropes. Once the blockade was established, footage of the activities was live-streamed.”

Legal analysts at the Heritage Foundation
noted that “Congress specified that the FACE Act doesn’t ‘prohibit any expressive conduct (including peaceful picketing or other peaceful demonstration) protected from legal prohibitions by the First Amendment to the Constitution,’ including the ‘free speech or free exercise clauses,’ occurring ‘outside a facility.'”

Handy’s defense also characterized the incident as a “rescue and protest,” noting that she was under the distinct impression, in part due to an
undercover video published by Live Action, that Santangelo was not just executing live-birth abortions but leaving born-alive infants to die.

Kollar-Kotelly ultimately barred the defendants from claiming their protest was protected by the First Amendment as well as from claiming they had protested in defense of a third person, stating “a defendant may not don a vigilante’s hood.” The Clinton judge, who made sure to
chastise a nun in the public gallery for daring to make the sign of the cross, also prevented the defense from showing the undercover 2012 footage that prompted Handy to want to intervene for fear of prejudicing the jury.

Handy, convicted of a FACE Act violation as well as of conspiracy against rights, sat in prison for nine months until her sentencing.

Sentencing

The Biden DOJ asked Kollar-Kotelly to give Handy 6.5 years, claiming she was among the “masterminds who chose the clinic, advertised the event, recruited participants, and planned the crime,”
reported the Washington Examiner.

Handy’s defense alternatively
asked for a one-year sentence, emphasizing the peaceful nature of the event that entailed an “attempt to rescue preborn children from imminent death at the hands of an abortionist who Ms. Handy believed performed illegal late-term procedures.”

The Clinton judge reportedly expressed concern that Handy’s protest hindered multiple prospective patients from speedily entering the clinic, including a woman experiencing labor pains.

“Your views took precedence over, frankly, their human needs,” said Kollar-Kotelly, apparently discounting the human needs ignored deeper within the clinic.

Prosecutors apparently also won the judge over with the claim that the protest was not peaceful, as a clinic nurse allegedly sprained her ankle when one of Handy’s co-defendants entered the clinic,
reported the New York Post.

Kollar-Kelly claimed Handy was not being punished for her pro-life beliefs but rather her actions, stating, “The law does not protect violent nor obstructive conduct, nor should it.”

Response

The outcome incensed Republicans, women’s organizations, and pro-life activists, who ostensibly agreed that the FACE Act has outstayed its welcome, especially after having been weaponized against pro-life activists by the Biden DOJ.

Live Action president Lila Rose
noted Handy “has just been sentenced to 57 months in federal prison for handing roses and resources to women at an abortion facility[.] Meanwhile, abortionists who dismember and kill children walk free. A grave injustice!”

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) said in a statement obtained by Blaze News, “Today’s outrageous 57-month sentence for a progressive pro-life activist is a stark reminder: Biden’s DOJ is fully weaponized against pro-life American citizens, and they are using the FACE Act to do it.”

Roy stressed that “House Republicans should defund the DOJ weaponization, repeal the FACE Act, and stand up for the freedoms that we campaign on.”

‘Ms. Handy deserves thanks, not a gut-wrenching prison sentence.’

“This sentencing of @PAAUNOW’s Lauren Hardy is a tragic injustice,” said Penny Nance, CEO of the Concerned Women for America. “In policy and practice, the FACE Act is an unjust law that must be repealed. It is an unconstitutional breach of the states’ police power, and the Biden Administration has used it to attack political opponents most blatantly.”

Martin Cannon, senior counsel at the Thomas More Society,
said in a statement, “There was only one thing around which Ms. Handy and her co-defendants were unified, and that was nonviolence. They conspired to be peaceful.”

“For her efforts to peacefully protect the lives of innocent preborn human beings, Ms. Handy deserves thanks, not a gut-wrenching prison sentence,” continued Cannon. “We will vigorously pursue an appeal of Ms. Handy’s conviction and attack the root cause of this injustice, that is, the FACE Act — which we believe is unconstitutional and should never again be used to persecute peaceful pro-lifers.”

Steve Crampton, senior counsel at the Thomas More Society, added, “The remains of several later-term aborted babies discovered by Ms. Handy and her associates, known as the ‘D.C. Five,’ have underscored the truth of Ms. Handy’s concerns that abortionist Cesare Santangelo has more likely than not been violating the Born Alive Infants Protection Act by reportedly refusing to provide life-saving care to infants born alive as a result of an attempted abortion.”

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