I Prayed have prayed
Father, please vindicate those who sacrifice everything to speak up for the lives of unborn children!
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Seven pro-life activists were sentenced to prison earlier this week for their protest actions in 2020 at the Washington Surgi-Clinic, in the nation’s capital.

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Here are their names and their sentences:

  • Lauren Handy, 30, a Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU) activist, sentenced to 57 months
  • John Hinshaw, 69, sentenced to 21 months
  • William Goodman, 54, sentenced to 27 months
  • Jonathan Darnel, 42, an Iraq War veteran, sentenced to 34 months
  • Herb Geraghty, 27, a pro-life atheist, sentenced to 27 months
  • Jean Marshall, 74, sentenced to 24 months
  • Joan Bell, 76,  sentenced to 27 months

What Crime Was Committed?

The Department of Justice (DOJ) charged these activists for allegedly violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, and for, according to Breitbart, “conspiracy against rights.” The protesters were found guilty in August and September of last year. All seven have been in prison since their trials, anxiously awaiting sentencing.

Prosecutors argued that the activists organized a blockade using chains and locks, injuring a nurse and blocking women from accessing the abortion clinic in the process. The activists’ lawyers countered that only some of the pro-lifers chained themselves together inside the clinic. Whatever the truth may be, it is clear that at least some of the activists did block access to the clinic, preventing women from getting abortions. This is a clear violation of the FACE Act, which “prohibits threats of force, obstruction and property damage intended to interfere with reproductive health care services.”

Civil Disobedience and Two-Tiered Justice

These activists are being punished for civil disobedience. While we know that abortion is sinful and evil, it is still illegal in America to block access to abortion clinics. This brings up an important discussion about civil disobedience and how Christians should respond to unjust laws and what amounts to legally protected evil. Is it morally acceptable for Christians to break the law in the service of a higher good? And are Christians obligated to take strong action to prevent the murder of children in the form of abortion?

Whether or not the pro-life activists have been unfairly charged, it is clear that they are being unfairly treated. While these activists have been sentenced to years in prison, the vast majority of those who have attacked crisis-pregnancy centers and threatened the lives of Supreme Court justices have faced few consequences for their actions, if any at all. This disconnect makes it hard to ignore accusations of two-tiered justice levied against our federal government.

Furthermore, some of these activists are being treated horribly by the very government that claims to serve them. Jean Marshall brought a doctor’s note to her sentencing, explaining that she is in need of a hip replacement due to extreme osteoporosis. As Terrisa Bukovinac put it on X: “The feds said that hip replacement surgery is elective and wanted a harsher sentence.” Keep in mind that the 74-year-old Marshall was arrested for what she says is trying to stop babies from being killed.

How Should We Pray?

These days, protesting against the evils of abortion is more complicated and difficult than ever. As President Biden’s DOJ lashes out with extreme prejudice against the administration’s ideological opponents, many Christians are afraid to stand up against abortion, fearing the possibility of predawn raids at their homes and of getting years in prison. But as believers we are still called to protect and speak up for those who cannot protect or speak up for themselves (see Proverbs 31:8–9).

Follow these prayer points as you lift this complex situation up before the Lord:

  • Pray for the activists in prison. Scripture exhorts us to remember our fellow believers in prison (see Hebrews 13:3). Many of those arrested are people of Christian faith, but all were honoring our God, whether they knew it or not, by standing up for the unborn. Pray that God would strengthen them in their imprisonment.
  • Pray for the unborn. As pro-life activists get thrown in jail, babies are suffering. Even in a post-Dobbs nation, unborn children are still being killed regularly. Pray for an end to abortion in America!
  • Pray wisdom for pro-lifers. As the DOJ continues to crack down on pro-life protesters, it’s getting increasingly dangerous to stand up for the unborn. Pray that those on the side of life would be wise as serpents and innocent as doves, and that, as much as possible, they might protect the unborn without becoming targets of the federal government.

What do you think of these protesters and the sentences they’ve received? Share your prayers and scriptures below.

Nathan Tabler is IFA’s Communications Coordinator. Photo Credit: Christian Lue on Unsplash.

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May 20, 2024

I pray especially for Jean Marshall, who needs a hip replacement. I pray that her lawyer, or anyone who knows her, will tell her to find a doctor who will order an MRI, CT scan, DEXA scan, and X-rays from several angles. These are the reports that the court and the insurance companies need to agree to surgery. My hip replacement is 9 days away and I can testify that if the court denies Jean necessary surgery, the court would be violating her constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment.
The other defendants merit our prayers to help them stay resilient and strong. Give thanks for their dedication. They are proven warriors. Their 2020 action at the Washington Surgi-Clinic was not their first or even their second arrest. This is especially true of their leader Lauren Handy. They knew the cost; penalties are harsher for repeat offenders.
Lauren and the others also knew that live-streaming their civil disobedience on Facebook would make their action even more costly. The court would impose harsher penalties in order to discourage viewers of that live-stream not to imitate them.
These proven warriors knew that violence, however minor, would bring more jail time. A group of people, carrying chains and locks to secure the building from the inside, could not force themselves into that building non-violently. They pushed the staff around and injured one. Keeping the staff inside with them was false imprisonment, another crime.
They are pro-life warriors, not victims of the judicial system.

May 18, 2024

I think their heart was in the right place but they went about it wrongly. Even though it is wrong to kill an unborn baby , unfortunately the moms can make that decision. We can work on making it wrong for abortions to happen in each state. We need to make abortion clinics illegal. But it boils down to the human heart condition. We must spend time in helping people to know Jesus, to have their heart transformed so they won’t want to kill their babies. Sonograms showing they are real little people inside of them is great and should be continued. But Jesus never stopped people from sinning. He just told them what was right and wrong and let them make their own decisions. Somehow we need to love people to Him and I’m not always sure how that is done in situations like this.

Grant Windholz
May 18, 2024

Yes Lord God Almighty, give mental, verbal and spiritual strength to those who stand firm and speak against the abortionists who run rapidly throughout this country! Complete spiritual warfare this has always been and will continue until you come and rapture your children and church. I pray 🙏 for this increasing “anti Christ” culture people choose to live and breathe thinking their are no consequences, to stop these murderous ways and REPENT, humble ourselves and cast our eyes on Jesus! AMEN!

May 18, 2024

The simple act of chaining oneself-,to highlight the incredible and egregious crime of the murder of the innocent child, to underscore the severity of this horrendous thing-,is merely a dramatic tool that those who are endangering their lives by being on the front lines.. are merely employing to bring attention to what is surely worthy of such a demonstration. If King David could dance in his loincloth in front of the Lord because of his zeal in worship- for Our Savior-, even to the embarrassment of his wife,..should we not be able to wear chains,..to call out this disgusting and horrendous thing that is not only being done to the child in the womb-, remember people-, but it’s also being carried out as a crime against the Lord God himself- and all of humanity.
Yes Lord but let us not only where chains.. but let us wear whatever Garment of sacrifice and take whatever gravity of action is necessary to underscore, and cry out in horror-, against these evils that are so unspeakable, Lord- just as those who gave their lives in Africa at the tip of the spear in the 1950s..and other incidents around the world that are Illustrated in the book of Martyrs so graphically.. illustrates.. the extent to which could not even really be reprinted here because of the egregiousness of the crimes against those who have given their lives in service to our Savior-,in the field.. we may be very composed and sanitary in our literary and church acceptable repose- in print- in describing these things,..so that no one is offended- but does that truly carry the day-,carry the message, or protect The Unborn..? Lord let these words carry the fire of retribution necessary to instill repentance as necessary to finally end these crimes against you Lord- that are surely foremost in our sentence of judgment that we are now undergoing.
In Jesus Mighty Name, Amen

May 18, 2024

Lord, there should be no punishment for crying out in horror against the murder of innocent children in the womb.. this is an egregious crime that should not be happening. The hearts and minds of those who advocating for the slaughter of the innocent Lord need to repent.
if anyone should be put in prison it should be them. Lord it is obvious all can see that the scales of Justice are so far out of balance than insanity is ruling our court system and our daily life.. Lord let this grave and ungodly Injustice be corrected Lord. All who sin always have the opportunity to repent Lord.
Gross deceptions as in the case of labeling the murder of an innocent child in the womb as Women’s Healthcare are falsehoods-, Lord,..that have succeeded in deceiving people and pandering to the laziness of human Frailty Lord which also is an egregious crime against the human race and against you,..Lord- primarily.
In Jesus name, Amen

May 18, 2024

Father I pray, as we near Pentecost Sunday, that you will somehow open the doors of these prisons for these seven as you did for Paul and Silas. I know you love the babies and you know these people were trying to save babies from being murdered. Give all of us wisdom and strength to endure and help us keep our focus on you and your word. I pray they be released but also pray that until they are, you give them your favor father. I pray they use any time they are incarcerated to lift up your name and to speak with those in prison about you, Savior. I pray the harvest for you from this will be huge. Strengthen these brothers and sisters in Christ and assure them they are not alone. While they may be persecuted, they are not forsaken. (2Corinthians 4:8 and 9) We are troubled on every side but not distressed, we are perplexed but not in despair, we are persecuted but not forsaken, we are cast down but not destroyed. We pray in the Mighty Name of Jesus, Amen

    May 18, 2024

    Praise God in heaven as we face the upcoming Darkness that is in fact already here -, enshrouding us-,and may the Lord’s words and will be heard and seen through these sacrifices of the martyr’s lives.. surely as the children are being sacrificed to Molech.

Darlene Estlow
May 17, 2024

Father, enlighten the eyes of those who think abortion is a woman’s right (her body, here choice), even when they do not deny the baby is a human being. May we as a nation stop insisting that the right to kill babies overrides the right to life for that child. Bless organizations that are supporting the unborn and encourage the people in those organizations to stand strong for righteousness and life. We declare victory over death.

    May 18, 2024

    Are they now acknowledging the child in the womb is a human being?

Carla Sherman
May 17, 2024

The tragedy is that such protests should have started 50 years ago when no one would have been jailed. I applaud these brave brothers and sisters. If I know my next door neighbor is going to kill her 1 yr-old, I would try to stop it.

May 17, 2024

I believe that we need to pray where ever we are it doesn’t need to be in front of an abortion clinic, and we should not be chained or blocking, Jesus gave us all free will everyone of us are to pray Jesus died for us to have free will. WE must self examine our own life daily that we don’t become the very people we are protesting against. WE are not God and God is Merciful even to someone that aborted a baby and even to the doctors that did the abortion when they cry out to him.
WE must do what God told us witness and if they don’t want to listen dust your shoes and leave.
Pray Pray Pray without ceasing all the time where ever you are.

May 17, 2024

Dear Heavenly Father, give us wisdom, as we fight for the little ones who have never had a chance to live their lives. Help us to find ways to protect and have their voices heard.
Be present in the lives of those imprisoned for their faith and standing up for life.
In Jesus precious name we pray

May 17, 2024

Please Lord, remove them from the jails quickly, get them out, help leaders that we’ve written to do something to get them out quickly. Protect them and keep them well until they are released.. Lord keep them strong in spirit and comforted until then. Thank you, Lord. Amen.

Deborah Ryder
May 17, 2024

Lord, provide wisdom, discernment and strategies for all who are called to stand of protection of life and innocent children.

May your power flow through prayer gatherings and shake and silence all curses against your people, in Jesus” name.

We were warned persecution will increase before you return, so let courage arise with yielded strategies to provide.in these relentless battles.
Recruit your warriors with vision,.provide strength and miraculous intention to not shrink back in this Hour, You are Almighty and all-powerful over every death threat, in Jesus’ name.
Release captives as you are always working everything out for your good.

Neil Sogge
May 17, 2024

Lord, In these dark days, seeing the evil of the murder of the unborn, some with noble intentions have stood up and given the unborn a voice. As a consequence, the weaponized system has severely cracked down on them with disproportionate prison sentences. Lord, give them strength, peace, and assurance of heart for the stand they have taken. We pray for others of the pro-lifers, that they would do their best to follow the law in their protest, but also that they would weigh before You the law of life that comes first and foremost above the law of man. Bring judgment against the weaponized justice system, and turn hearts who are rendering judgment–that the violent protestors on the other side would finally be punished and be served stiff sentences for the dangers they have wrought upon society. At the same time, may those who are persecuted for raising a pro-life voice be granted Your favor when they are scrutinized in trials. Lord, for all of this, I lift up the name of Jesus. Amen.


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