Matt C. Abbott
FACE trial: the transgender man and the turncoat woman
By Matt C. Abbott
August 31, 2023

Five pro-life activists were convicted Aug. 29 in a Washington, D.C., federal court for participating in a non-violent rescue in October 2020.

Lauren Handy and co-defendants Will Goodman, John Hinshaw, Heather Idoni and Herb Geraghty were charged with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act as well as an additional federal charge of conspiracy to interfere with civil rights. They face a possible 11-year prison sentence and a six-figure fine. They were taken into custody pending their sentencing. (Pro-life activists Joan Andrews Bell, Jonathan Darnell, Paulette Harlow and Jean Marshall will be tried on the same charges early next month.)

An interesting aspect of this case: In a recent article published on the website of Crisis Magazine, longtime pro-life activist and Catholic author Monica Miller revealed that co-defendant Geraghty “is a woman who has transitioned to a male identity—and moreover is an atheist.”

Miller pointed out:

    For the first time in the history of the movement, an atheist transgendered person is standing trial in a case involving the defense of the unborn. Indeed, Geraghty, who also was not arrested during the rescue, only very briefly entering the abortion center, was offered the [Department of Justice] plea deal, under threat of being prosecuted. To the great credit of this defendant, Geraghty refused the offer—which apparently would have resulted in a ten month jail term in any case! Would that committed Christians had the integrity, courage, and commitment of this transgendered atheist!

Contrast Geraghty with Caroline Davis, an erstwhile Christian pro-life activist who did cut a deal with the DOJ and testified against her fellow activists—her testimony “meant to be used to convict the pro-lifers on the more serious conspiracy charge that carries the ten-year sentence,” according to Miller.

And it worked.

Was/Is Davis truly pro-life, or was she a plant, as some commenters have suggested?

It appears she simply caved to the DOJ. Miller noted that Davis was “once full of zeal to end abortion, even participating in rescues, including a Red Rose Rescue with [Miller]” and “was arrested in two other rescues and charged with FACE, and she was present at the rescue at [abortionist Cesare] Santangelo’s abortion center.”

Also, Miller wrote:

    Before the jurors, to her credit, [Davis] referred to abortion as ‘killing the unborn,’ used the words ‘abortion,’ ‘abortionists,’ and ‘abortion clinics,’ described rescues as ‘peaceful acts of defense, acts meant to be life-saving.’ This will likely be the only time such testimony will be given without constant objections from the prosecutors once the defendants take the stand and attempt to present the truth about abortion to the jurors.

I can understand Davis’ fear of the DOJ. I also think a cogent argument can be made that blockade rescues are imprudent, albeit non-violent. Still, it’s very disappointing to see that she decided to throw her fellow pro-lifers under the bus. I can’t see it as anything other than a betrayal.

Of course, Davis doesn’t see it that way.

“The FBI report states that: ‘Davis doesn’t see this as stabbing [the pro-lifers] in the back because they are stabbing themselves in the front,’” according to Miller.

That’s a clever rationalization, I must say.

Well, at the end of the day, Davis did receive a get-out-of-jail-free card for her testimony.

As for reaction to the verdict…

Martin Cannon, senior counsel at Thomas More Society and Handy’s lead attorney, said the following:

    Ms. Handy has been condemned for her efforts to protect the lives of innocent preborn human beings. We are preparing an appeal and will continue to defend those who fight for life against a Biden Department of Justice that seems intent on prosecuting those who decry abortion and present it as it is—the intentional killing of children in utero.

Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of TMS, said in an email:

    Biden’s Department of Justice just got what they were looking for in this vendetta against pro-lifers—right on their home turf in Washington, D.C. Our client and brave pro-life activist Lauren Handy, as well as her four co-defendants, have been found guilty of violating the FACE Act and of a conspiracy against ‘rights.’ Those so-called ‘rights’ are nowhere to be found in our Constitution… nor do we believe such a ‘right’ legitimately exists in any United States statute book.

    This is an outrage. As our very own Senior Counsel Steve Crampton said: ‘The one thing the defendants had really agreed upon was to remain non-violent. The real violence is what happens during the abortion procedure.’….

    We believe that the FACE Act is now demonstrably unconstitutional, especially in the wake of the U.S Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs, which tossed Roe onto the trash heap of history.

© Matt C. Abbott


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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media, and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on HLN, MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 2019 ‘Unsolved’ podcast about the unsolved murder of Father Alfred Kunz, Alex Shuman's 'Smoke Screen: Fake Priest' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wisconsin. He’s been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and other media outlets. He’s mentioned in the 2020 Report on the Holy See's Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1930 to 2017), which can be found on the Vatican's website. He can be reached at

(Note: I welcome and appreciate thoughtful feedback. Insults will be ignored. Only in very select cases will I honor a request to have a telephone conversation about a topic in my column. Email is much preferred. God bless you and please keep me in your prayers!)


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