Seven pro-life activists were arrested just before noon today while praying peacefully outside of the office of Speaker John Boehener (R-OH).
Wearing shirts reading “pre-born babies feel pain,” the protesters – including Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, President of Operation Rescue Troy Newman, and former nurse Jill Stanek – conducted the demonstration to bring attention to the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
“The pro-life movement needs to instill a sense of urgency in the fact that this bill must be passed,” Newman said, before the demonstration. “We're here to sacrifice just a little bit of freedom, stand in solidarity with these children, and to help Speaker Boehner grow a spine.”
The demonstration was held to put pressure on House Republicans to pass the bill, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks -- the time an unborn child can feel pain. Mahoney described the behavior of the House GOP as a betrayal of the support of the pro-life community.
“The pro-life community in the midterm elections spent hours manning phones, walked hundreds of miles passing out literature, donated millions of dollars to candidates to give Speaker Boehner the historic majority he has in the House today,” Mahoney said. “And for all that incredible hard work, we were promised on January 22 that a vote would be held banning abortions after 20 weeks. On the eve of the Roe v. Wade memorial, that vote was shelved."
“We were told yesterday that this is the most pro-life Congress that has ever been installed,” Newman added. “And yet a ban on late-term abortions – which the vast majority of Americans believe should be passed immediately – has languished in the House.”
After making statements to the gaggle of press that gathered, the seven knelt and prayed the Lord's Prayer. Capitol Police kept a watchful eye on the group from just down the hall.
“It should be very peaceful on our part – very quiet, very peaceful,” Mahoney's wife, Katie, said before the event. “They know we're coming. We met with Boehner's office last week.”
Whilst Newman prayed a psalm, an officer approached with a loudspeaker warning that the group was engaging in illegal activity and if they did not leave the area they would be arrested.
“We pray for the day that all abortions end within America,” Mahoney prayed. “We pray for the day that everyone is treated with dignity and justice and humanity.”
Police established a perimeter and put the seven in zip tie handcuffs before leading them away.
“This house refuses to pass a bill that would save innocent human lives,” Newman called down the hall while being arrested.
“We may forfeit just a little bit of our freedom, but that is nothing compared with 1,200 to 2,000 babies that die every single day here in America,” Newman said.