Prisoner of Conscience: Reflections of a Pro-lifer Behind Bars

Jail is not as bad as it sounds. It’s a reasonable height for a room—about ten feet. The walls are cinder block, but they’re painted a pleasing pale yellow. There’s not an insect in sight. The door is burnt sienna with a dark brown trim. It’s not the kind of door most rooms have. It’s solid metal with no handle on the inside. There’s a flap in the middle that opens from the outside to pass food trays and a tall rectangle at eye level—a win­dow for looking out. The panel is covered from the outside, lifted once an hour for a guard to look in, and then put back in place. On the wall across from the door is a seven-foot-long, built-in cinder block bench. A mattress rests on it. This is where the prisoner sits and sleeps. There is no other furniture in the room except for a metal sink-toilet fixture near the door which is standard-issue in jails. It has three buttons—cold, hot, and flush. Air comes in through vents in the ceiling. There is a fluorescent light fixture that lights up the room fairly well. The floor is concrete, painted grey, but rubbed away in some spots. This is Holding Cell Number 2, but it doubles as an iso­lation cell when needed. I’ve been here a week. To me, it’s the “box.”

Some days I fast partially and others completely. In the three weeks since the arrest, I’ve yet to eat breakfast, though most mornings I’ve taken some orange juice. American jails serve plenty of food, and usually hire cooks who can prepare it well. Good food is considered essential to the smooth running of a jail. A satisfied pris­oner is a peaceful one. In Westchester County I heard of a person who liked to “catch a misdemeanor” sometime in October so he could spend the cold weather in the county jail with his buddies and come out again in April for the summer.

Breakfast here is set up so that it doesn’t require the cook to make an appearance. A cart comes around at 6:00 A.M. with milk, donuts, and cold cereal. Take your choice. Lunch and dinner are hot meals served on trays with dessert, vegetables—the works. A half pint of milk comes with each tray. So why don’t I relax and eat? Because I can’t get used to the idea of being in jail for trying to protect human life. I feel I have to do something to show the unrighteousness of it. So I fast.

We had a habeas corpus hearing the other day. Beautiful statements were made about the baby’s right to life and the injustice of abortion. (“I never knew someone who wanted to be an abortion himself.”) The judge listened politely, but he couldn’t understand how it could be permissible to “scare” people by blocking their car so they couldn’t drive into the abortion mill. Patient explanation followed that the life of a human being was at stake here, but it didn’t penetrate. The unborn baby is a non-entity in American law.

Veiled reference was made to the possibility that the Lambs of Christ (as the prisoners called themselves) might go limp on the courtroom floor if the judge ruled against them, so the judge, after a recess, said he would deliver his opinion by telefax at noon the next day. The Lambs huddled and decided to walk back to jail. After all, he might rule in their favor.

Except for one. That was me. I didn’t budge. So the corrections officer hefted me over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes, carried me through the sallyport from the courthouse to the jail, and flopped me on the bunk in Holding Cell Number 2. “Stay in here a while and think it over,” he said. “A long while.” That began my separation. Prior to that I was with the other men—ten of us in a 14-person dorm. Nice set-up. Room to walk around. Companionship. A window to look out. North Dakota is covered with snow in November. It’s a nice view to look out on the street. Sometimes people walk by, go in and out of houses, etc. But not in the “box.”

I had a lot of time to think and came to the conclusion that if defending baby-killing was so important to their way of life, I would make getting out of the box impor­tant to mine. So I fasted.

But anyway, how can a person make a career of sitting in jail to prevent baby murder? Doesn’t he have to hold a job, pay expenses, etc.? That all ended a year ago when Westchester County asked me to choose between bailing out of jail or losing my job. I decided Jesus was worth it and stayed in. Four months later I came out with no job, no apartment, and no income, but now I was free to spend as much time in jail as I wanted. Occasionally a local citizen will write a letter to a newspaper demanding that pro-lifers cover the expense of their jail stays, but how could you ever make them pay—send them to jail? I didn’t volunteer for incarceration. If the community wants to put me in, they have to foot the bill.

Jailers welcome all kinds of prisoners. It’s the demand side of their profession. The more demand there is to lock people up, the more secure their jobs are. I like to tell them they’re being co-opted to protect a holocaust. They don’t see themselves as being responsible. “That’s up to the judge.” “I killed women in Vietnam,” one of them told me, “why should babies bother me?” “If they told us to line the pro-lifers up against the wall and shoot them, I might have a problem,” another said, “but to watch you play basketball?”

In a subtle way, however, the presence of a group of people in jail who don’t care how long they stay (it’s their vocation) has a sobering effect on the system. In Westchester County the prosecutor decided after a four-month siege that punitive sentences were counterproductive. They just attracted more diehards. So he sent down a policy that rescuers would receive a maximum 15-day sentence, no more. So the price of rescue in Westchester County dropped from three months to 15 days—a reasonable accomplishment. A similar process is occurring in Fargo, North Dakota. Lambs of Christ who refused to walk to court were kept in jail two and three months on offenses that carried a maximum 30 days. Now two judges in the state have indicated that they will act favorably on habeas petitions from pro-lifers who are being held beyond the maximum sentence allowable. The cost of rescue in North Dakota may be dropping from 3 months to 30 days. Doesn’t seem like much, but it’s movement.

Rescuers not only act on behalf of people they cannot see; the results of their efforts are largely unrecorded and may not appear for decades. A mother turns away. A baby is born. It grows up. God sent Moses into Egypt 80 years after he was rescued out of the Nile. Rescuers see themselves saving Jesus from Herod’s slaughter. Would you spend 30 days in jail so someone could be born rather than killed? If you dive into a lake and pull someone out, you’re a hero. Save a baby trapped in the womb and you do time. It’s a crazy world, but it does give some of us the opportunity to change history in an unpredictable way. A baby can grow up, marry, have descendants. The consequences are incalculable. I have a feeling that someday a rescue baby will grow up and decide to close the shops that almost killed him—or her. Who is going to stop them?

“What should I say to the baby we saved?” I tell the judge. “You’re better off dead?”

The American judiciary is the most rigid hierarchy I have ever seen. Military officers understand the concept of an illegal order, but judges unquestioningly implement whatever comes down from above because “the law is the law”—even when it authorizes a holocaust. The moral training of American lawyers is non-existent. Being a judge is a good job, and no one wants to risk his robes. It’s a lot better than hustling clients; the loser can always appeal.

I wanted to show ,a judge in Jersey City a video of a live abortion, so he could see what it was like for a baby to be delivered in pieces of torn flesh. “If I viewed this, would I be able to find you guilty?” Honest, that’s what he said. No one wants to admit that he’s responsible. Don’t show it to me, and I won’t know about it. Incredible denial, isn’t it? The abortuary is right across the street from the municipal courthouse in Jersey City. More judges will be judged one day for their lack of courage in repudiating Roe v. Wade than for anything else. Protecting crimes against humanity is not included in the oath to uphold the Constitution, but judges, like doctors, protect each other’s mistakes.

I think the population growth people who favor abortion should volunteer for one themselves—set agood example and all that. It used to be people didn’t want minorities moving in down the block. Now they don’t even want them to be born. The hidden racism that supports the abortion consensus is substantial. One of the biggest abortion mill operators in California boasted that he’s killing as many Hispanics as he can.

For the doctors that do it, it’s an appealing source of income without the emotional commitment required in developing doctor-patient relationships. The whole thing is done anonymously. The mills pay per kill. The death doctor doesn’t even know the woman’s name. She just lies down on the table, puts her feet in the stirrups, and he vacuums her out. A little expertise is required in fish­ing out the baby’s head since it won’t fit through the vac­uum tubing and has to be pulled out with forceps—usu­ally last. They call the baby’s head “the Calvaria”—a technical term to disguise the reality. “Did we get the calvaria?” Remember Calvary—place of the skull? One physician in Fargo gets $50 per abortion from the mill. Obviously, it’s in his interest to do as many as he can as fast as he can. Remind you of a barber shop? But barbers know their customers better than these specialists.

What’s ironic is that Justice Blackmun is his Roe opinion pontificated continuously about the zone of privacy that surrounded “the pregnant woman and her attending physician.” He spoke of the many criteria the doctor would consider in consultation with the mother before recommending abortion. This doctor has only one criterion to consider: will I get my money? Abortion today is an assembly-line, like a car wash except that blood goes down the drain instead of soapy water. Molly Yard made her own video about abortion. “See, just a little blood.” Whose blood, Molly?

The abortionist is a man in a killing frenzy. His character and personality are very much like that of the bath­house homosexual. Gratification is all he is looking for: the thrill of murder, the money. Who he does it with and the consequences for them interest him not at all.

The parade of aborted women that troop out of the killing houses every Saturday morning have finally experienced the ultimate in what the sexual revolution has to offer. They are now liberated from being women, free to experience the sexual abandon formerly limited to men. They have fulfilled Margaret Sanger’s dream.

Many of them retreat into a private nightmare world of blood fantasies. Others, bearing the mark of Cain, go through the earth like “a fugitive and a vagabond,” the ready mistress of any man who will have them. Others become acolytes of the abortion cult—serving the houses that caused their degradation like temple prostitutes. And a few, thank God, wash up on the shores of mercy to experience Christ’s forgiveness and healing.

There are 20 million walking wounded in America, most of whom have yet to realize that abortion is a man’s game played on a woman’s body. “I only go out with pro-abortion women,” said one Hoboken stud, for obvious reasons.

The sanitized language of the abortion industry is a wonder to behold. “Women’s health” is usually somewhere in the title. The implication is that disease is being treated. Mankind has a long history, but never have I heard of pregnancy being called a disease for which abor­tion was the cure. The annihilation of the baby can hardly be considered to contribute to its health. Pregnancy used to be considered a blessing; today, a curse. The sickening reality of infant murder and maternal mutilation (physical and emotional) cannot be separated from these houses of degradation. The man uses the woman and then sends her to be scraped, like a pipe that needs cleaning. “What’s this thing in here? Get rid of it.” Even better is when the women are conditioned to believe it’s their problem. “Abortion? Hey, honey, that’s your choice.” “A woman’s choice” is the cleverest slogan ever devised for letting men avoid their responsibilities.

“Chastity is the best birth control,” said a pro-life woman on the picket line at the Fargo abortuary to a pro-choice woman who was handing out condoms on the edge of the clinic property. “Chastity,” the pro-choicer replied, “is just not a viable option for women today.” With the way some men are today, I know what she means.

Women just have to accept the reality today that pregnancy doesn’t mean marriage, but surgical miscarriage. The shotgun used to be pointed at the man; today it’s aimed at the baby. The woman is to blame for getting herself pregnant; the man is off the hook.

Alas for the population controllers who are afraid someone will take a nip out of their country estates. Abortion on demand doesn’t reduce population growth; it just increases conceptions. The babies killed would never have been conceived if men knew they had to control themselves or bear the consequences. Same for the women. A popular line in Fargo bars is: “Don’t worry about it. You can always get an abortion.” For the fornication industry, abortion is a lot easier and profitable than pills, condoms, and IUD’s.

The door just swung open. “Martin, get ready. Cass County is here.” We’re being returned to Fargo from Jamestown. Goodbye to the box. For now.


  • M. Wishnatsky

    At the time this article was published, M. Wishnatsky wrote from Hoboken, New Jersey.

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