Late in March, The Interim received a letter from one of the two Canadians jailed in what has been called the first “detention camp” for rescuers in the U.S. We reprint excerpts here.
Letter from prison
Today [March 21] marks the fourth week of our internment, following our arrest on February 21 at the Women’s Health Centre in Burlington. I say illegal, because we have not as yet been properly arraigned, a fact that is not denied by the State Attorney’s office. Our lawyer asked for a habeas corpus hearing, and an improvised courtroom was set up in the gymnasium here at the Vermont State Hospital, with a local judge by the name of Bryant presiding.
It turned out to be a hearing that was not a hearing, officially at any rate. The judge heard evidence establishing the circumstances of our arrest and detention, including the fact that we had not been asked if we waived our right to arraignment within 24 hours, as required by Vermont State Law.
The prosecution confirmed the evidence of our attorney, and it was accepted by the court. Logically, and in a rational world, the next step would have been for the court to order our release and to rap the authorities for such gross violation of due process, as well as of our legal rights. Since he had no intention of releasing us, Bryant then announced that he would not entertain our motion for a hearing, despite the fact that he had in effect been conducting one. He ordered the authorities in Chittenden County, in which Burlington is located, to arraign us. That was a week ago, and tomorrow, March 22, we are to be arraigned in the Village Courthouse here in Waterbury.
It is our intention to adhere to our policy of non-cooperation until the authorities agree to release us on our own cognizance. We are totally committed not to pay a dime for bail, or to agree to any conditions of release that infringe on our constitutional right and moral obligation to do what we can to save the lives of innocent pre-born babies.
We prisoners of Waterbury now constitute more than half of the estimated 300 rescuers behind bars in the country.
Our little community is developing into a powerhouse of spiritual energy; we have three priests among us, daily Mass, the Sacrament, the Rosary, and the Divine Office. Our Protestant brothers attend these as well, and our solidarity is cemented in fraternal charity. Each seeks to serve and accommodate his neighbor, and our happiness is so great that we seem to be on the threshold of Heaven.
Truly we are in for a long war, one which I believe may entail more suffering and hardship for us than we have yet seen. I believe the Holy Spirit is preparing us for that. We are misrepresented by the media. Rescuers ready to save lives are labeled as thugs; the prosecutors and judges who protect and defend the commercial slaughtering of thousands are considered honorable. This is the cutting edge of the new nihilism, and if we do not oppose it and challenge it, who will? And if not now, when? Tomorrow may be too late, and can we be sure there will be a tomorrow?
Baby John Doe #313
P.S. As of date of printing this paper all concerned were still in prison.