On the heels of a lawsuit filed against what she has described as a “radical anti-abortion extremist group,” state attorney general Letitia James is now seeking an injunction from a judge that would prohibit its members from coming within 30 feet of any reproductive health care facility in the state.
At least while the trial against Red Rose Rescue over its alleged storming of a Planned Parenthood facility in Hempstead, moves forward.
Over the past two years, Red Rose Rescue has targeted several clinics in New York, according to James. Not just Planned Parenthood in Hempstead, but two other centers in Manhasset and White Plains. James accuses members of Red Rose from terrorizing these locations with violent and erratic behavior, leading to delayed or missed appointments as well as causing both physical and emotional distress to patients seeking health care services there.
Her lawsuit calls out several members of the anti-choice group by name — Christopher “Fidelis” Moscinski, Matthew Connolly, William Goodman, Laura Gies and John Hinshaw. They have interfered with clinics by lying to clinicians to gain access to the facilities under the guise of being a patient with an appointment, James said. Once inside, they open a back door, allowing others to join them. From there, they occupy waiting and treatment rooms, refusing to leave.
They have also barricaded entrances, threatened staffers and clinicians, and physically blocked access to women’s health care services, James said — all in an effort to stop the clinics from operating.
“Red Rose Rescue has made it their mission to terrorize reproductive health care providers and the patients they serve,” James said. “New Yorkers have my word, I will always take action to defend your right to make your own choices about your own bodies.”
According to its website, Red Rose Rescue members are tasked with entering “actual places where the innocent unborn are about to be ‘dragged to death,’” citing the phrase to Mother Teresa.
“Red Rose Rescuers peacefully talk to women scheduled for abortion, with the goal of persuading them to choose life. They offer them red roses as a sign of life, peace and love.”
If someone decides to move forward with their procedure, Red Rose Rescue members “stay in the place of execution in solidarity with their abandoned brothers and sisters performing a non-violent act of defense through their continued presence inside the killing centers — remaining with them as long as they can.”
The Roman Catholic Church — although opposed to abortion — has expressed disagreement with Red Rose Rescue’s tactics. Pope John Paul II taught that a person cannot “intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order,” according to The Tablet, an official publication of the church, “even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family, or of society in general.”
Despite multiple past convictions for trespassing at clinics and physically blocking access to reproductive health care services, Red Rose Rescue continues to threaten reproductive health care providers and the patients they serve in New York, James said.
“Every person has the right to access reproductive health care clinics without obstruction or interruption,” James said.
James has also partnered with a couple-dozen national law firms as well as eight reproductive rights organizations to launch a pro-bono legal hotline to support patients and health care providers trying to navigate the legal waters since the U.S. Supreme Court ended federal protections granted from Roe v. Wade.
It provides legal information, guidance and resources to patients, health care providers and organizations, even for those outside of New York. It can be reached at (212) 899-5567.
“New York has made clear that we will continue to be a safe haven for all, and that includes providing legal support to help navigate the complex, daunting, and hostile abortion laws,” James said. “This network of the nation’s top law firms, advocacy groups, and attorneys in my office will work around the clock to offer this free support because every single person in this country should have the right to make their own decisions about their ow