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HomeWorld NewsDOJ sentences elderly pro-life activist to prison over 2020 incident

DOJ sentences elderly pro-life activist to prison over 2020 incident

An elderly woman from Massachusetts was recently sentenced to prison following a 2020 pro-life demonstration at an abortion clinic.

Kingston resident Paula “Paulette” Harlow, 75, was handed a two-year prison sentence May 31 over an October 2020 incident that involved her and fellow pro-life activists blocking an abortion clinic. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, Harlow and 10 other pro-life activists were charged with “civil rights conspiracy and Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act violations.”

“[The defendants] forcefully entered the clinic and set about blockading two clinic doors using their bodies, furniture, chains, and ropes,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said. “Once the blockade was established, they live-streamed their activities.

“As the evidence at trial showed, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to create a blockade at the reproductive health care clinic to prevent the clinic from providing, and patients from receiving, reproductive health services.”

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Split image of DOJ logo, pro-life sign and Harlows smiling

Paulette and John Harlow are hoping for mercy as the DOJ plans to imprison the ailing 75-year-old over a pro-life event in 2020. (Paulette Harlow)

Blocking abortion clinics is a violation of the FACE Act, which was signed into law by President Clinton in 1994. In an interview with Fox News Digital, Harlow explained that she has been on house arrest in recent weeks and expects to know soon if she needs to surrender to authorities.

Harlow said the 2020 incident took place at a clinic run by Dr. Cesare Santangelo, a doctor who has been accused of conducting late-term abortions. She described the demonstration as peaceful.

“We were there to intervene, to put our lives on the line, to intervene … between the death of the child and the abortionist, peacefully,” she said. “[We were] there trying to talk to the mother. … They feel forced into it for whatever their circumstances are. So, we need to try to surround them with love, with support.”

Harlow, a Catholic, explained that she became pro-life when she saw Lennart Nilsson’s photograph of an 18-week-old fetus published in Life magazine in 1965.

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Split images of John and Paulette Harlow smiling

Paulette’s husband, John Harlow, called the prosecution of his wife “devastating.” At left, the couple is pictured renewing their vows at Cana of Galilee. (Paulette Harlow)

I saw the light [when] I saw the pictures in Life magazine that Nilsson did,” she said. “The children, they have no voice, and they’re hidden. That is as poor as you can get. You can’t even protect your own life.

“We have to make them visible and make them heard.”

Speaking to Fox News Digital, Paulette’s husband, John Harlow, said he was distraught over the legal situation.

“It’s devastating, what they’re doing — the whole trial and sentence and everything,” he said. “But my wife doesn’t want the focus to be on her. The real outrage is the fact that children are being aborted.

“We’re all concerned about her. I told the judge I’d go to jail for her if I could. … But we’re in this together, and we wish the outcome had been different. But it is what it is.”

Harlow with sister, friend and adopted daughter

Harlow told Fox News Digital her sister Jean (left) is in jail over the same incident. (Paulette Harlow)

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Harlow, who has extensive medical issues, worries incarceration could further cause her health to decline.

“I’m 76, and I have a lot of conditions,” she said. “Incarceration would be detrimental because I won’t have access to the things I have now. And I won’t have John, who’s here just helping me with everything.

Split image of Life Magazine fetus and Harlows together

Paulette Harlow became pro-life when she saw Lennart Nilsson’s 1965 photo of an 18-week-old fetus in Life Magazine. (Paulette Harlow//Getty Images)

“There’s a lot to take care of.”

Harlow also told Fox News Digital her sister Jean is in jail over the same incident.

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“I consider it an incredible honor,” she said. “And I considered going to court an incredible honor. And I was really very grateful when I came out of court because not everybody has the opportunity to do that. And it was wonderful.”

Paulette and John Harlow

Paulette and John Harlow on a cruise in 2019. (Paulette Harlow)

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Fox News Digital reached out to the DOJ for comment, but officials did not respond.


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