PITTSBURGH, PA (FR) – After spending the past 31 months in a Florida high-security prison, including 26 months in solitary confinement, pro-life activist Joan Andrews was released on the condition that she refrain from other pro-life protests. However, she told reporters outside the courtroom that she would continue her pro-life activism.
“It’s all in God’s hands. The babies have to be rescued,” she said. “I would never withdraw myself from doing rescues.” County Judge Raymond Novak’s sentence of three years’ probation was received enthusiastically with cheers from about 100 supporters outside the downtown courtroom.
Andrews’ five-year prison sentence was commuted recently and she was transferred to Pittsburgh for a hearing. She was tried for criminal trespass and defiant trespass charges from a May 10, 1985, break-in at a Pittsburgh abortion clinic.
Judge Novak commented “I suspect that we will meet each other again.” He urged Andrews to accept her attorney’s plan for involvement in pro-life activism to keep her out of jail. She has been convicted 67 times for rescue-related actions and arrested more than 150 times.
“I recommended that she take over the leadership of the right-to-life movement,” her other defense attorney John Broderick said. “Like any leader, the general doesn’t go to the trenches.” However, her sister, Susan Brindle of Elketon, Maryland, said, “She’s a faithful soldier, but she’s not comfortable as a leader.”
In September 1986, she was sentenced to five years for conviction of burglary, resisting arrest, and three counts of criminal mischief from an incident at a Pensacola abortion clinic six months later. An executive order signed by Florida Gov. Bob Martinez commuted Andrews’ Florida sentence at the time of her sentencing in Pittsburgh.