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 September 25, 2023

DC court refuses to release jailed pro-life activist

Pro-life activist Lauren Handy was denied an emergency motion on Friday to release her from jail.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit released the ruling for Handy and four other activists who were jailed on August 29.

The judge's comments

“In deciding this motion, we have no occasion to consider whether the FACE Act’s element of ‘force’ sweeps more broadly than the ‘physical force’ required for a crime of violence. That possibility arises because the common-law definition of ‘force’ encompasses even the ‘slightest offensive touching,’ whereas the crime-of-violence definition of ‘physical force’ requires ‘violent force’ — that is, force capable of causing physical pain or injury to another person,” Judge Gregory Katsas wrote.

“So, if FACE Act ‘force’ tracks the broader common-law standard, then section 248(a)(1) is not a crime of violence. My vote to deny interim relief rests on Handy’s failure to develop this argument, rather than on any assessment of whether it is likely to succeed,” he continued.

Decision criticized

“In an unexpected twist, the Court found that because the violation of FACE — in this case — was a crime of ‘violence,’ all five defendants must be immediately incarcerated. So, the defendants were led out of the courtroom by an army of U.S. Marshals," Thomas More Society Senior Counsel Steve Crampton said after the arrests.

“This is an outrage, and the one thing the defendants had really agreed upon was to remain non-violent. The real violence is what happens during the abortion procedure," he added.

Major injustice

“Ms. Handy was there to prevent these horrific live-birth abortions, which does not violate the FACE Act,” said Thomas More Society Senior Counsel Martin Cannon.

“However, she has become a victim of the merciless drive by Biden’s Department of Justice to prosecute those who are trying to protect preborn human beings. To add to that injustice, she was incarcerated when the true violence continues to be committed against innocent children," he continued.

Handy and others were charged in March 2022 over an incident in October 2020.

The protest was at the facility of late-term abortionist Cesare Santangelo, who has long been accused of refusing care to infants born alive during abortion procedures.

The case will be a major one in the pro-life battle, with Handy remaining in jail for now.

Written By:
Dillon Burroughs

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