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FLINT, Mich. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Two pro-life protesters were released Tuesday from the Genessee County Jail on their own personal recognizance after they were arrested June 7 on felony charges they resisted arrest as well as misdemeanor charges for trespassing and disturbing the peace.
Judge Vikki Bayeh Haley agreed that Red Rose Rescue members Matt Connolly and William Goodman posed no flight risk nor public threat. At the request of attorney Robert Muise and with no significant protest from prosecutor Lia Clarkson-Perryman, the judge waived each of their $6,000 bonds.
Connolly and Goodman were arrested along with Patrice Woodworth and Lauren Handy (pictured above with attorney Jodie L. Quisenberry, center, and Monica Miller, far right) when they entered the Woman's Center abortion clinic in Flint.
After they entered the facility, they spoke to women scheduled for abortions, offering assistance and words of encouragement in an attempt to persuade the women to choose life. Woodworth and Handy were previously released on June 10.
By refusing to leave the clinic when told to do so by law enforcement, the quartet claim they were engaged in an act of non-violent defense of unborn children about to be aborted. The defendants intend to testify that all they did was merely exercise passive resistance.
All four defendants were told they were not allowed within a one-mile radius of the clinic until the court hears their case and makes a determination on Aug. 26. The evidentiary hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, but Muise was not given a copy of the abortion mill's video of the alleged altercation until the morning of.
Dr. Monica Miller, director of the Michigan-based Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, organized the Red Rose Rescue:
Since when are people who engage in completely non-violent passive resistance charged with a felony? The Red Rose Rescuers were involved in a life-saving mission, an act of social justice on behalf of the vulnerable, namely the unborn about to be aborted, and all they did was go limp and had to be carried out of the abortion facility.
Passive resistance is a time-honored practice and it is nearly unheard of in the history of the pro-life movement that defenders of the unborn in clinic sit-ins and rescues are charged with such a crime! The evidentiary hearing will show that the charge is unwarranted and we hope the pro-lifers will prevail.
Woodworth found the delay encouraging.
"I foresee very good fruit coming from this," she said. "I don't completely agree with forbidding us from protesting on public sidewalks, which is a hard thing to accept."
She added: "But I'm happy with the delay, and I'm mostly fine with the judge's request."
She concluded: "I still stand for the lives of children everywhere."
Handy also was optimistic about the delay.
"This grants me more opportunity to witness for the children in court," she said. "It's an opportunity to advance the dignity of the pre-born."