At least one expectant mother heeded the advice of four Red Rose Rescuers who entered a Morristown, New Jersey abortion center offering roses and counseling this past Saturday, July 13, 2019. They were following the model of Canadian Mary Wagner, who described their work as “Bringing God’s love to whom there is no love.”
Other mothers also received counseling before the counseling was interrupted by staff and later by police who demanded they cease their counseling and leave the premises. The four were then taken from this important work as they were arrested and forcibly carried away to police cars. They were then driven to the police station where they have been booked, given a July 26th court date to return, and released on their own recognizance.
For details of this Red Rose Rescue, please follow the links below:
Red Rose Rescue on Facebook
LifeSiteNews: 2 Priests, 2 Pro-Life Activists Arrested Trying To Save Babies Inside New Jersey Abortion Center
InsiderNJ: Pro-Lifers Conduct Acts of Civil Disobedience at Morristown Abortion Facility in Defense of Babies in the Womb and their Families
This is the 14th Red Rose Rescue that’s taken place in the United States since September 2017.
Red Rose Rescue
A Red Rose Rescue is the rendering of counseling and assistance to pregnant mothers considering abortion.
Red Rose Rescuers are men and women who recognize the personhood of the human being in the womb of a pregnant mother. They make prayerful and peaceful efforts to encourage pregnant mothers who are contemplating abortion. Each brings a rose to a mother who is in the waiting room of an abortion clinic and offers both counseling and referrals for help. The rose represents the love and celebration for the child the mother bears.
The Rescuers will not voluntarily leave the abortion center unless or until they are sure that no more abortions will be committed on the premises for that day. The abortion center personnel will likely call the police for their removal. The police will order the Rescuers to leave and, if they refuse, threaten to arrest them with trespassing, disorderly conduct, or mischief charges.
Rescuers are witnesses to life to the mothers, the abortion center personnel, and the police. The Rescuers do not seek or want to be arrested. In a spirit of solidarity, Rescuers do want to remain with or near the babies whose mothers have chosen to abort them, so when ordered to leave the Rescuers decline to leave voluntarily. It is then that the police arrest the Rescuers who generally will not resist, but also will not cooperate with the police in their removal. Instead, the police will typically find they must carry the Rescuer from the abortion center.
The arrest occurs not because the Rescuers did anything wrong, but rather it is a consequence that the legal system wrongly protects the destruction of lives of those who prove inconvenient to others.
Lawfulness Of The Rescuers
Rendering aid to the afflicted is an act of mercy and justice. The Rescuers are doing just that. What the Rescuers are doing is an affirmative duty of Christians. We are all called to acts of mercy. It is not a choice for the Christian. What to do is where the challenges lay. We must ask to know the Father’s will in what we should do.
When someone acts in conscience to render mercy and justice to another, we may need the help of God to see it for what it is. The Rescuers are giving mercy, justice, and life to the despairing. The Rescuers are acting lawfully. If we don’t see that, we must ask God for help to understand it.
God’s Law supersedes man’s law. As was said by St. Augustine, ‘An unjust law is no law at all.” The legal process is acting lawlessly in impeding the activity of the Rescuers with eviction from the abortion building along with their arrest. To allow man’s law to dominate God’s law is a great injustice and encourages lawlessness.
Seeking Solidarity With The Victim
The law does not recognize the preborn human being as a person. The solidarity of the Rescuers with the victims of abortion who are in the womb can mean that the Rescuers serve as surrogates for the person in the womb before the police, prosecutors, courts, jury, and public.
Beginning from prayer, the Rescuers seek solidarity with the victims through a contemplative process of recounting the many denials of the personhood of the preborn and the indignities suffered by those in the womb as a result of diminished perceived standing in our eyes. Having identified these sufferings, they have sought awareness of instances and opportunities in their own life where they may share in those instances where the preborn are denied rights and suffer indignities, albeit if only a weak spiritual relationship exists. This practice, freely engaged in, can heighten the self-identification with the suffering persons in the womb. It also gives them training for their own suffering that may be coming when acting correctly and lawfully in seeking to rescue the preborn.
It is hard to remember and even harder to share in the denial of life for the Preborn. The denial of one’s right to life means the denial of all that person’s rights.
The solidarity is also with the abortion-bound mother who finds herself in an unwanted or untimely pregnancy. The consequences of her earlier encounter are more than she was prepared to accept. There may not be adequate information given to the mother for her to make the right decision. Or she may lack the support, encouragement, and circumstances to sustain the person within her even to term, much less so for the coming eighteen years and more in preparation for adulthood. Or maybe she under coercion as a study suggests is the case for as many as 60% of all abortion-seeking women. Or perhaps she lacks the fortitude and wherewithal to carry the child for another week.
Have we not all over-committed at some point and found ourselves a bit in over our heads? Have we all not found that a sin of our own, seeming small at its outset, has unintended consequences that seem disproportionate to our expectations. For some things cutting our losses is an ideal choice, even if some others will be disappointed. In the case where another’s life will be destroyed, cutting our losses is not an option. We need to appeal to the Body of Christ with Jesus as its head to help in all necessary support. The Body of Christ needs to respond by bringing God’s love to where there is no love.
What is revealed to us all through the witness of the Rescuers is not the deficiencies of a newly conceived human person, but instead the moral bankruptcy of us in a society that protects the destroyer of lives. The human response is that of solidarity and choosing to join those in the breach, the abyss bringing an action that generously expresses God’s love.
Working Through The Legal Process
The arrest of the Rescuer begins a legal process where the Rescuer is alleged to have committed an unlawful act, and their legal rights are limited. They must submit their lives to the scrutiny of the police, the prosecutors, and the courts. In some instances, any one of these parties can be working in league with the abortion provider. This latter point comes as no surprise as their action of abortion is considered a legal business in the eyes of man’s law. These businesses, with a thin veneer of legality, have an expectation that government that will defend and protect its exercise of unimpeded business activity, i.e., performing abortions.
The denial of rights through the legal process comes in both small and in more significant manners. Anonymity before the government is lost with fingerprints taken and basic identifying information taken and sought for the government files. Restrictions on time, travel, activities, and one’s attention are imposed. They may be confined to a jail or prison for a short or long duration. They have an arrest record that will follow them along with a possible history of incarceration, too. The solidarity with the Preborn’s denial of rights becomes real beyond the spiritual sense.
Presence in the court as a defendant allows the Rescuer to plead for recognition of the inherent right to life of the Preborn. They become the presence and voice of the Preborn, at least spiritually and in surrogacy.
In jail or prison, the Rescuer experiences the confinement of the condemned within the womb. Their mobility and communications are restricted. Their freedom is found in terms of their conscience and in terms of evangelizing to fellow prisoners. As Victor Frankl, a survivor of the 1940’s Nazi concentration camps has written in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
A Christian Norm In Orientation
The Rescuers are not heroes as they represent what is the norm for us all, we just are not living it well. Their extra-ordinariness is that they are seeking to live that norm, to reclaim that norm as normal for Christians of today. Does this norm call for all of us to risk arrest? No, as the body of Christ has many parts. But we are not to quickly dismiss the risking arrest in rendering mercy and justice as something for ourselves. Instead, each of us ought to be asking the Father what His will is for me and not presuming His answer. Discernment is something in which each is called to participate in for ourselves and others. How should we work for the acknowledgement of the natural personhood of the Preborn? What more might the father be asking for from me?
‘He who does the will of the Father is my brother, sister, and mother.” Mark 3:35
Peace of Jesus in the womb of Mary be with you.
© 2019 Patrick A. O’Donnell All Rights Reserved