Four convicted of trespassing for entering abortion clinics

Sterling Heights — Four pro-life advocates were found guilty of trespassing and sentenced to two years of non-reporting probation after entering a Sterling Heights abortion clinic waiting room in September to talk to mothers considering abortion.

Monica Miller, director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, and three others — Will Goodman, Matthew Connolly and Abby McIntyre — were sentenced by Judge Matthew Rumora for their role in the Sept. 15, 2017, “red rose rescue” at the Northland Family Planning clinic.

Miller said the defendants peacefully handed out roses in the waiting room with cards including information about local pregnancy resources, while talking with women scheduled to have abortions.

After being asked to leave and refusing to do so, police were called to the scene, and the four were arrested on charges of trespassing.

Represented by attorneys Robert Muise and Erin Mersino of the American Freedom Law Center, the defendants asked Judge Rumora for a “defense of necessity” on the grounds that their actions were to “prevent a greater evil from occurring” by protecting the lives of the unborn.

Despite not granting the defense, Judge Rumora said from the bench that he sympathized with the defendants’ intentions, Miller said.

The Sterling Heights “red rose rescue” was one of three taking place simultaneously, with others taking place in Washington, D.C., and Alexandria, Va.

Miller, Connolly, Goodman and two others also participated in a similar “red rose rescue” on Dec. 2 at an abortion clinic in West Bloomfield Township. They were scheduled to appear in court Feb. 20 on charges related to that case.

Muise said the defendants plan to appeal the conviction and sentence in the Sterling Heights case.