Prayers Answered as Charges Dismissed Against Red Rose Rescue Priest Fr. Fidelis and three other Members

Thomas More Society: Charges Dismissed Against Life Advocates Accused of Trespass at New Jersey Planned Parenthood

Thomas More Society Attorney Secures Victory for Trenton Four with Defense of Necessity for Peaceful Sit-In

All trespassing charges against four Red Rose Rescue members were dismissed by Trenton Municipal Court on November 18, 2022, due to the efforts of Thomas More Society attorneys. Father Christopher (Fidelis) Moscinski, Will Goodman, Patrice Woodward, and Matthew Connolly, had been engaged in the ministry of the Red Rose Rescue movement at an abortion facility on December 22, 2018, when they were arrested. Red Rose Rescue participants offer women in abortion facility waiting rooms a red rose and literature on life-affirming alternatives to abortion. The four who were arrested had been staging a peaceful sit-in at a local Planned Parenthood abortion business in Trenton, New Jersey, and were subsequently charged with defiant trespass.

In an unusual development in the case, Thomas More Society Special Counsel Christopher Ferrara successfully argued for the right to raise the defense of necessity at trial. The grounds, as Ferrara demonstrated, were that the women about to undergo abortions had never been given information on the grave psychological consequences of abortion. Studies have shown that having an abortion brings about an increased risk of suicide, drug abuse, exacerbation of preexisting mental illness, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Ferrara’s briefings and arguments persuaded the Trenton Municipal Court to allow the defense, which the state would have had to disprove beyond a reasonable doubt.

“The argument here was unusual,” Ferrara observed, “in that it did not focus on defense of life but rather on the lack of informed consent to abortion, for which women have the right to sue for damages in New Jersey.”

“The dismissal of all charges against these courageous pro-life advocates brings to an end the long saga of this case,” Ferrara added. “One can only admire the willingness of these four to make an offering of their own bodies, as prisoners, to save the unborn. Repeatedly they have immolated themselves for the sake of innocent life, even at the cost of arrest and imprisonment in the tradition of civil disobedience that brought about the success of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. This time, however, they were spared that penalty.”

“Christopher Ferrara and the Thomas More Society helped us continue our pro-life witness in the Trenton court,” declared Moscinski. “Before all charges were dismissed, the judge allowed us to assert the defense of necessity at the upcoming trial. Now that will not be necessary. Ultimately, the prosecutor asked for our charges of trespass to be dismissed. We are grateful for the remarkably effective representation of Christopher Ferrara and the support of the Thomas More Society. May we see many more such victories for the cause of life!”

Read Ferrara’s winning brief as submitted to the Trenton Municipal Court, resulting in the November 18, 2022, dismissal of defiant trespassing charges against four members of the Red Rose Rescue,  in State v. Goodmanet al. here.

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