by Will Goodman. p/c Life Legal Defense Foundation
Forward to this blog by Fr. David Nix: I found out today that one of my arrests for my peaceful work inside abortion centers with Red Rose Rescue will go to trial in New Jersey on 10 March 2023 (just a few weeks away.) I will be tried with my friend Fr. Fidelis, depending on the outcome of his court case for similar work in Nassau County on Long Island. Will Goodman, our mutual friend from Red Rose Rescue, wrote the following from his eye-witness reporting from the court room outside NYC this week, and he gave me permission to publish it here. It is long, but I very much encourage you to read it to see nearly-inspired words of defending the unborn like I have never heard before.
By Will Goodman, reporting on the trial of his fellow rescuers, Fr. Fidelis, Laura Gies and John Hinshaw:
These were the powerfully moving words of a Catholic Priest and rescuer who boldly testified in Nassau County court this afternoon during day two of the Red Rose Rescue trial: “I was intervening in a life and death situation to prevent the butchering of children by abortion.—Fr. Fidelis Moscinski, CFR to Nassau Co. Court outside NYC
Three rescuers went to the stand and each testified to the inalienable right to life and the horrors of abortion slaughter.
While there were countless objections by the prosecution, most of which were sustained by the judge, this summary will not offer those injustices any attention. Rather, this article will focus almost entirely upon those moments of light and hope whereby the truth rang out for all to hear, even if later the judge ordered such words to be struck from the record.
Before our heroes testified, the day began with the prosecution presenting it’s final witness– a police officer from Nassau county on Long Island. During testimony, a video from the abortion mill was admitted as evidence by prosecutors.
The court was able to see on the video screens a very calm and peaceful Franciscan Priest who was seated in a chair with roses in his hand. He patiently explained to law enforcement that he was there to hand out roses and alternatives to abortion (i.e., pregnancy help flyers). As one of the officers could be heard to raise his voice and threaten Fr. Fidelis with arrest, this Catholic Priest quietly explained that he was not there to trespass, but to follow a higher law of justice. Fidelis acknowledged the right to private property, but said that this was subordinated to the right to life “in the hierarchy of human rights.”
During cross examination, Mr. Elio Forcina, attorney for defense, asked the following questions which the judge did not allow to be answered:
“Do you know what happens at this building [abortion mill]?”
“Do you know they murder babies there?”
“Do you know what a sidewalk counselor is?”
“Have you ever tried to save a life?”
“Have you ever arrested anyone in a store?”
“What does your statement mean, ‘to protest abortion’?”
“Did anyone say the defendants were there to help women?”
“Was this place an abortion center?”
“Did you see any roses?”
While none of these questions were ultimately permitted, and the judge provided no opportunity to argue her decisions, the courtroom audience was forced to consider these questions in their own mind and heart.
After the prosecution rested it’s case with their last witness, the jury was recessed so that the attorneys could present arguments to the judge.
Mr. Forcina motioned for the court to dismiss all charges against rescuer Matthew Connolly since Mr. Connelly never entered the abortuary property, but rather sang and prayed in a bathroom open to the public.
“There was no proof given of any trespass, and there was no evidence of any obstruction of justice,” argued Forcina.
Despite efforts by prosecutors to continue the persecution of Matthew, Judge Moroney ultimately dismissed the violation of trespass against him, citing a lack of evidence.
And since he was not guilty of any type of crime or violation, the second charge “Obstruction of Government Administration,” would not apply.
The result: all charges were dropped against Connolly and he was free to leave the courtroom!
Similar efforts by the defense attorneys, Mr. Forcina and Mr. Soffey, to dismiss the charges against Fr. Fidelis, Laura Gies, and John Hinshaw were denied by Moroney.
As an aside, there was a very interesting phenomena which had been developing in the courtroom gallery over the past two days. Attorneys! By the boatload! They had been filling the public and “attorney only” seats so as to monitor this trial for some reason. At one point, there were roughly 35 attorneys present in the courtroom! Some of whom were directly helping the two young assistant defense lawyers prosecute the case. (?!)
Apparently, a large team of lawyers was needed to help prosecute these peaceful pro-lifers who are committed to non-violence, including one grandmother, one grandfather, and a Catholic Priest!
The first pro-life witness to take the stand was Laura Gies. Laura explained that she had six children and one baby in heaven from miscarriage. Full of smiles, she also related how she has one grandchild, in utero, due in June.
“I was so excited when I was able to hear the little baby’s heartbeat!” exclaimed Gies joyfully.
Laura also detailed her work as a pro-life counselor who serves at abortion mills: “I meet pregnant women where they are at, during a very hard moment, with love, roses, and help.”
She told the jury that she has been doing this work for 33 years and does not get paid. Explaining further, Gies shared, “I witnessed the sorrow of those women suffering after an abortion… it broke my heart… I want to help these moms to avoid that pain.”
Mr. Forcina asked if these efforts have been successful, Laura eagerly answered, “Yes!” and expounded upon her great happiness as she was able to, as she related, “hold four different babies in my arms who were saved from abortion!”
In one particular incident that was presented, Mrs. Gies while sidewalk counseling, called out to a young teenage mother at an abortion center at the last moment and said, “no problem is so great that a child must die.”
The pregnant teen then spoke with Laura and left the abortuary! Later the young mother and her own mother, (the preborn baby’s grandmother) all were extremely happy and grateful for Laura’s intervention that day.
Gies also explained to the jury that she saw on the abortion mill’s website that they dismembered living children in the womb, and did this evil on Saturdays. Which is why she went to this particular location on that particular day on April 24th, 2021. The day of the rescue mission.
In response to why she brought flowers that day to that abortion facility, Laura simply said:
“Why a rose? It is a sign of love and hope… a gift to mom to congratulate her… and show her that she’s precious and beautiful.”
When asked by defense counsel what was occurring at this “office,” and why she is against abortion, the judge allowed no answer and said to the attorney, “move along.”
(One is tempted to add to the judge’s words “…nothing to see here.”)
During cross-examination, the young female prosecutor badgered Mrs. Gies and seemingly tried to rattle her.
The prosecutor was unsuccessful.
Another video exhibit was played before the court in which a seated Fr. Fidelis could be heard speaking to the police and staff about the roses, pregnancy aid information, and a card which says to the pregnant mother, “You were made to love, and to be loved.”
Also in the video, Laura can be heard speaking compassionately to the pregnant mothers, “we can help you….”
Then turning to the abortion mill staff, this courageous grandmother spoke out:
“Do not kill the child– help it… do you realize what you are doing? Making money off of women in crisis… Abortion destroys a child and scars a woman for life… Don’t be a part of destroying life and women.”
As she sat on the ground with roses in her lap, Gies could also be heard speaking boldly to the police officers who were unjustly arresting her:
“Help the babies… Their arms are being torn off… Cops should not be a part of it… You should prevent them from getting their limbs taken off.”
Laura told the assistant district attorney that “helpless children were in danger,” so she “went inside.”
When asked why she had to be carried out, this pro-life witness said, “because the bodies of the babies killed by abortion must also be carried out.”
While a different section of video was played, the courtroom heard Laura give a great Christian witness to the abortion employees at their work, “Money is the factor… You need to repent and turn from killing… Your Heavenly Father doesn’t want you to do this.”
The last portion of the video was used by prosecution to show that Mrs. Gies went inside and stayed in the waiting room. The jury heard Laura explaining that she will leave “as long as no abortions are going on… Otherwise, I will stay.”
Rescuer Gies was often smiling while giving her testimony, and was simply beaming in her lovely dress decked with red roses. Pro-lifers in the courtroom noticed how attentive and even mesmerized the jury was as she spoke. One juror even appeared to be tearing up as Laura spoke in the large room that had been reduced to a hush.
The second pro-life witness to take the stand was Fr. Fidelis Moscinski with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.
Responding to defense counsel, he explained that he is a Catholic Priest with a Bachelor’s degree of arts, a Master’s degree in divinity, and two other advanced degrees in canon law and moral theology.
Despite continued objections, quick questions by Elio Forcina still followed:
“Do you believe abortion is evil?”
“It is one of the greatest of evils.” Answered Fr. Fidelis.
“Do you think it is inhumane?”
“Is it morally offensive?”
“What was your purpose for going to this facility?”
“I was intervening in a life and death situation to prevent the butchering of children by abortion.”
Although there had been many objections prior to this point, when Fr. Fidelis made this particular statement, the prosecutor loudly yelled “objection!” To which the judge turned to Fr. Fidelis and admonished him saying, “Do not use that terminology in the courtroom.”
So Forcina re-asked his questions, “why were you there Father Fidelis?”
“I was intervening in a life and death situation to prevent the butchering of children by abortion.”
The sobering truth rang out in the courtroom like a poor child crying.
“What was your plan?” Elio continued.
“I wanted to talk to people… Talk to women planning abortion to persuade them not to, and offer them alternatives and aid… Everything we did was calm and peaceful.”
“Why not leave?”
“I believe the Lord wanted me to stay.”
“Why not cooperate with the police?”
“I try to cooperate with police, unless they exceed their authority.”
“What did you do?”
“Lives were at risk, I was there to protect children.”
“So this was your purpose?”
“My purpose was intervening in a life and death situation to prevent the butchering of children by abortion.”
“Have you been successful in such efforts.”
During the cross-examination, the assistant district attorney emphasized that she believed Fidelis had no right to be at the abortuary because, he is, “a man,” she said.
After numerous questions, the prosecutor said regarding his presence at the mill, “no permission was given to you to be there?”
He responded, “Just as they don’t have permission to butcher children.”
“Did you leave?”
“I did not leave… I would walk out if the staff butchering children walked out.”
On re-direct, Elio asked Father what his plan was that day of the rescue.
“The plan was simple. Four of us would go inside where children were butchered by abortion so to talk to mothers so that they wouldn’t do that to their babies.”
Also on re-direct, Mr. Soffey asked Fr. Fidelis if his “reaction that day was all, or in part, due to little children being harmed.”
Judge Moroney did not permit an answer.
The final pro-life witness was father and grandfather, John Hinshaw, from Long Island.
When asked by defense counsel about his education, John explained that he had a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from St. John’s University. He also told the jury that his education enabled him to work as a case manager and counselor assisting patients at a mental health facility and at a separate mental health clinic.
When asked about the purpose of his involvement with a Red Rose Rescue, John replied, “to save lives.”
Hinshaw in his testimony said he was present that day “at an abortion mill,” and that he strongly objected to the characterization of this place being called a “medical facility.”
John told the jury about how he entered the abortion mill freely and was never stopped by the police or the mill staff, and just sat down.
Defense counsel inquired, “Did you leave the abortion mill?”
“When asked by the police if I was going to leave,” Hinshaw related, “I asked them, ‘are you going to do your job and protect innocent life?’ …They said ‘no,’ so I said I’d stay to do their job, a job I was trained to do.”
Despite the constant flurry of objections, this rescuer detailed his professional training:
“As a mental health counselor I did similar work. If someone was threatening suicide, I had an obligation to stay with them. On April 24th, I felt I couldn’t leave the endangered children, I must stay. I am a father of six and a grandfather of two. I could not leave them [the unborn] there alone with the instruments being used to hurt them.”
When asked by Forcina about sidewalk counseling, John shared that this work was about “someone being at the abortuary doors to offer information to women who are not told by the abortion mill about any other plans than abortion.”
Hinshaw noted that he had been doing this work since 1975.
Defense counsel wished for him to explain more, asking, “what do pro-abortion people say to you when you want to offer help to unborn babies?”
John’s brow folded, “…they try to silence us all the time.”
Just then the prosecutor objected, and like clockwork the judge replied, “sustained and stricken.”
Hinshaw sighed and retorted to the jury, “They silence us more now than in other times.”
At cross-examination, the prosecutor wanted to know “the plans.”
“The plan was to go and give help and save lives,” John said plainly.
“So you ‘sidewalk counsel’ behind closed doors?”
“The doors were wide open. We get as close as we can… It’s the very last chance… I walked in with police. And I talked to the women.”
“But you weren’t supposed to be there, right?”
“‘Not supposed to?’ We were ‘supposed’ to be there to save lives.”
“But you didn’t leave?”
“This is what I said, I said, ‘if there are no more abortions– I’d leave… There was no obstruction… I sat there for a long time.”
“Yet the police said to leave?”
“I asked them if they’d fulfill their obligations to do their job and protect innocent lives.”
“So you didn’t leave when they told you to? Give a simple answer.”
“I didn’t leave. I couldn’t. That’s my simple answer. I knelt down. I wasn’t obstructing.”
When all of the questioning ended, the defense rested their case and the jury was dismissed for the day.
Now before the judge, defense counsel again sought dismissals for all three rescuers arguing that the prosecution had not proven any of the “crime’s” elements beyond a reasonable doubt.
The judge denied the defendants this legal request for application. Thus, all criminal charges remain in full force and will be presented to the jury tomorrow.
If unjustly convicted, this caring grandmother, kind grandfather, and holy Franciscan Priest, could all face up to one year in prison for saving lives.
Pray that God’s truth may prevail tomorrow as the trial concludes with the closing arguments, jury deliberation, and the presentation of the final verdict.
The proceedings resume tomorrow (2/9) afternoon at 2pm, Courtroom K, Nassau County Court Building in Mineola, NY.
This is a case about 1 thing, and 1 thing only: “Intervening in a life and death situation to prevent the butchering of children by abortion.”