An Interview with Joan Andrews Bell

By John Mallon

The following is an unedited manuscript of an interview with Joan Andrews Bell, which appeared in Inside the Vatican magazine in the February 1998 issue.  The interview was conducted January 13, 1998, two days before Mrs. Bell was sentenced to 3-23 months in jail in Pittsburgh for refusing to violate her conscience by accepting probation the terms of which included a promise not to participate in non-violent Rescue activities at abortion mills.  She was arrested when the FBI called in an old warrant from Pittsburgh, which popped up when Joan had her fingerprints taken for the Immigration and Naturalization Service in the process of adopting a 9-year-old handicapped Mexican boy.  She is now in jail for the "crime" of unplugging an idle abortion machine during a non-violent sit-in at an abortion mill, a "crime" for which she has already served two and-a-half years, in 1985-1988, mostly in solitary confinement, for adopting a non-cooperation mode.  

This manuscript contains charges of human rights abuses of another pro-lifer, John Arena, currently serving a prison term in Upstate New York, and a case of FBI entrapment of a 24-year-old mother, Jennifer Sperle, now serving time in a Texas prison.  The pertinent information is highlighted in yellow.

It is being sent to the office of Representative Christopher Smith (R-NJ) at his request during a conversation he and I had on Constitution Avenue, January 22, during the 25th Annual March for Life in Washington, DC.  

In the late 1980s Joan Andrews became a rallying point for the pro-life movement in the United States for her courage, unbending faith and will in refusing to cooperate with a legal system which sanctioned the killing of unborn children by abortion.  Her pioneering work in taking the non-cooperative mode in the streets, the courtroom, and finally the prison system earned her a place in solitary confinement in a maximum security facility in Florida usually reserved for the most hardened of criminals.  She spent two and a half years in solitary confinement for the "crime" of attempting to unplug an abortion machine which was standing idle.  

After her release, she was hailed as a heroine of the movement, a designation she was always uncomfortable with.  She would do occasional rescues and speaking engagements between court appearances from her long career of civil disobedience in defense of unborn life.  Finally, in 1991 she married Christopher Bell, and though by then over 40 she soon realized a lifelong dream of having a child of her own, Mary Louise, now five.  

She has led a quiet life in New Jersey since then, raising her family and was in the process of adopting a handicapped Mexican boy, when the FBI suddenly requested the Jersey City Police to pick her up on a warrant over twelve years old.  She was arrested at 6 p.m. at her home and spent the next five days in jail.  She was released after agreeing to turn herself in to Pittsburgh, where the warrant originated, where the Judge, a former Catholic priest, said he would sentence her to supervised probation.  To accept probation, for Bell, would be a violation of her conscience since she would have to promise not to rescue—which she steadfastly refuses to do.  She was given an extension by the judge until January 15 to get her affairs in order, which included a trip to Mexico in a step towards finalizing the adoption of her son, Emilio.

This interview took place by phone on the evening of January 13, two days before she was to appear for sentencing.  Inside the Vatican is deeply grateful to Mrs. Bell and her family for giving of her time at this very difficult and precious time when the outcome of her sentencing was still unknown.

In a scenario reminiscent of Robert Hugh Benson's 1906 apocalyptic novel Lord of the World, here is a lay woman, a wife and mother, brought before a judge who is a former Catholic priest for sentencing for the "crime" of not compromising on her firmly held Catholic principles that life is sacred at all stages.  

At approximately 3:30 p.m. January 15, Judge Novak sentenced her to three to twenty-three months in prison, with three years probation to run concurrently with the jail sentence.  When the sentence was pronounced Bell went limp in the non-cooperative mode requiring her to be carried from the courtroom, as she refused to cooperate in any way with her captors.  She is expected to remain in the non-cooperative mode throughout her sentence.  She will be fasting of Fridays for the cause of the unborn and others are invited to share in this fast in solidarity with her and the babies who are daily being legally killed.  As part of this sacrifice she will not be accepting letters while in prison.  It is indeed a privilege to conduct and carry this interview with a truly heroic Catholic woman of our times who is made of the stuff of the martyrs.

The interview begins:

John Mallon:  We know this must be a precious time for you Mrs. Bell, and we appreciate your taking the time to speak with us.

Joan Andrews Bell: Oh, I'm honored, Inside the Vatican is a wonderful magazine.

Thank you, Mrs. Bell, but the honor is all ours, I assure you.  You have been out of the public eye for some time now, raising your family, what caused this latest warrant to be called in?

BELL: It's been out there for eight years, since 1990.  What happened was that in August when we applied to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for the adoption of our son Emiliano we had to send our fingerprints in so I had them taken.  Normally you used to get them taken at the police station, but now they have a regular photograph shop take the prints and the photographs—passport photos—and we had them sent in to the FBI.  I knew there might be a possibility of that warrant showing up, and it did, so the INS said they could not approve our adoption until we cleared the warrant, so I asked my lawyer, John Broderick to contact Judge Novak and arrange for my turning myself in.  In the meantime, two days later, because the FBI discovered the Warrant in the Pittsburgh office they decided they really wanted to get me, but they didn't have jurisdiction to pick me up so they contacted the Police in Jersey City.  The detective there told me that he owed a favor to the FBI, and that the FBI couldn't legally arrest me so they asked him to do it.  Then he went into Bayonne and arrested me, which was illegal too, because Jersey City Police cannot go across township lines unless they are in hot pursuit.  So it was an illegal arrest.  He arrested me on the old warrant so it was all because Pittsburgh said they wanted me.

I've heard that you didn't know that the warrant was outstanding.

BELL: Oh no, I did know, because a couple of times as I continued to rescue it would come up, but then Pittsburgh said they didn't want me, they didn't want to pick me up.  In the early days, around 1990, '91, '93, I remember when I got picked up they said yes, they told the authorities who picked me up on a different rescue, or whatever the circumstances were, they would send marshals to pick me up, and then through some pretty interesting divine setups, and through prayer, I got released before the marshals could pick me up.  One time I was with the Lambs of Christ and we were praying and did a novena—it was amazing the way I got released!  So I knew it was out there.  But now in recent years when I rescued from time to time—not regularly, just once in a while—the warrant would show up again, and when Pittsburgh was contacted, they said they weren't going to send marshals for me.  They didn't vacate the warrant, but it wasn't worth sending marshals to pick me up.  So it was interesting that the FBI would want me so badly now.

It's ironic that it should come up when you go to adopt a child.  There seems to be a lot of ironies here.

BELL: In most of my arrests where I did have outstanding warrants, they were eventually just dropped.  This was a few years ago.  They were misdemeanors and just got dropped.

This all must be creating a strain on you and your family now.  How have you all been holding up with this?

BELL: With a great deal of prayer and certainly by the support of many friends who have been praying for us.  It's... um... (pause)...  it's been good.  As all things are a blessing, because they are of God's will, whether it's His perfect will, or His permissive will, it always can be a blessing, and this too helps us to focus and to recommit ourselves, and to draw closer to each other, and support the children, because they need a lot of support right now, and the adoption has not yet been finalized.  

Judge Novak did give me an extension.  Originally I was supposed to face him in October.  Jersey City released me, I did turn myself in to Pittsburgh on October 10th, and then he was going to have me come before him again October 30th to comply with the sentence he had given me way back in 1988.  Originally this is a 13 year-old case from 1985 when the rescue took place, and I was convicted, and the sentencing took place in 1988.  But the original sentence was supervised probation, which violates my conscience.  I cannot cooperate with probation because I haven't done anything wrong, I don't have to be rehabilitated, and I will not sign a document that says I will obey all of the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and all the laws of the United States of America because they are corrupt.

When it comes to killing children.

BELL: Right. Because the laws supporting abortion—the killing of children—are seen as laws which must be obeyed and complied with. They are seen as no different than other laws that are legitimate laws.  I could say—and I've done this in the past—I write in that I will obey all of the just laws, but then they tear up the piece of paper and say, "No, you have to sign that you will obey all the laws." And I say, "No way.  I'm not going to tell a lie, and give a false witness, and ever write such a thing."  So that's where the problem comes in.  Way back in 1988 I told the judge I would never do it, and I've told him again through my lawyer.  So he knew, and he said he was going to send me to jail for contempt of court if I did not comply, and I was ready to go October 10th.  

I had already said good-bye to the kids and my husband, and I went down there and expected to be sentenced but he wanted to wait until October 30th.  Then when he gave me that extension he vacated the warrant.  So we went to the INS and showed the piece of paper showing the warrant was gone and they approved the adoption.  So then we asked Judge Novak if we could have a further extension than October 10th.  We actually asked for six months because we wanted to finalize the adoption, and even though that was the last thing we had to do, to get INS approval, we knew it might take two months to get a court date in Mexico.  

Actually it took about two months, we didn't get there until December.  The judge did originally give us 60 days, but it ended up being 75 days from October which was January 15th. We went to Mexico in early December to a first court appearance, got the verdict that we could adopt Emiliano.  They said it was best for Emiliano that we adopt him and they approved us for the adoption, but it wouldn't be finalized until we come back to Mexico for a second appearance.  They said that would not be possible until at least April.  So that's a problem right now.  We both have to be there to sign the papers, so if I'm stuck in jail we cannot finalize the adoption.

Have you received any support from the US bishops?

BELL: Yes, definitely, Cardinal O'Connor and numerous bishops, and the bishop in Pittsburgh, Bishop Wuerl, and Bishop McCarrick of Newark, the diocese in which we live, have been very supportive.  Someone said there was even a letter from Cardinal O'Connor asking people to write the judge, and I hadn't known about that. I knew he had personally written.  Lots of times people will tell me things that I didn't know about people who have done things for me.

I must admit that my case is far smaller and insignificant compared to many other pro-lifers who are languishing in jail right now, like John Arena who has been tortured and brutalized and whose rights have been totally stomped on.  He's imprisoned in upstate New York.  He's in his 70s and they have put him in freezing cells, he's doing his time, and yet his offense was such a tiny little thing, it was skunk juice—he didn't do it himself, but he cooperated with someone else who put skunk juice in the abortion mill.  His situation is just outrageous, and he has a 41 month sentence.  Oh, the things that have happened to him.  He's been in now over three years.  It's outrageous the way he's been treated.

Are there any groups or organizations that are spotlighting these cases?

BELL: The only one that I know of is Prisoners of Christ, which is a ministry of Missionaries to the Pre-Born (Prisoners of Christ, Box 583, Skyforest, CA, 92385-0583 USA; Web Site:  They do publish the addresses of all the pro-life prisoners in the United States and some in Canada. Another prisoner is Jennifer Sperle.  She's another one who has been so outrageously treated.

What happened to her?

BELL: She was pressured by an FBI agent to damage an abortion mill.  She is a young mother, a sidewalk counselor, I've known her for years.  All she ever did was go out, practically on a daily basis, to save little babies, just through sidewalk counselling the mothers, and hand out literature.  They tried to get her to do something so-called "violent" to try to prove there was a connection between those who peacefully go out to the abortion mills and all the bombings.  

After six months of pressuring her while she was on medication for depression—because she had been traumatized by a forced abortion when she was fifteen years old—she went out to two abortion mills with a little bit of kerosene and the kind of flares you use for automobile emergencies.  She caused only $500 worth of damage collectively to the two abortion mills, and then they tried to send her away for 40 years.  It was outrageous.  She did a plea bargain and now she's doing two-and-a-half years sentence.  She has four little kids.  She's now about 24 years old.

You mentioned in our previous conversation that Mother Teresa intervened in this.

BELL: Yes, Mother Teresa spoke to her on the phone. I remember that quote, I can quote you exactly what she said, because it's so clear in my mind.  Jennifer called me just after she spoke to Mother Teresa.  This was about a year and a half ago.  She was trying to decide whether to accept the first plea bargain, which was for seven years. Her family was pressuring her to accept it because otherwise they didn't want her gone for 40 years, you know, her kids would have been all grown by then—the grandkids would have been practically all grown by then.  

So Mother Teresa said to her, "Jennifer, do not be afraid.  You live under an evil government.  Do what you have to do for the babies.  Trust in God."  Jennifer knew right then and there she could not accept a plea bargain.  About six months later when it was offered again it came down to two and a half years.  She felt, especially with her husband, in obedience, that she needed to accept that, and she did.  But not with the previous condition where they tried to get her this "great deal" after they had practically badgered this woman to do what she did.  

The undercover cop even took her to the Holocaust Museum with a number of other pro-lifers in Washington DC, showing her pictures of the Jews who were exterminated, and said, "The good Germans should have burned down the Nazi death camps just like we should burn down the abortion mills."  Two days after that she went out and tried to do it.  

So this FBI agent acted as a provocateur?

BELL: Absolutely, absolutely.  And this woman is now suffering.  She's in Dallas, Texas right now in a federal prison.  At the time they said "we'll give you seven years but you have to rat on anyone else who was involved" and she wouldn't do that.  Even with the two and a half year sentence she wouldn't do that.

But the truth of this FBI agent infiltrating her little pro-life group never came out because it never went to court?

BELL: It never went to court.  His name was Rick Thomas, by the way, I don't mind anyone knowing his name.  It was just shameful what happened.  But it was pressure from Janet Reno that sent him in there.  There had been two grand juries formed to indict pro-lifers and each time: zilch.  They came up with nothing.  Nothing, nothing, nothing.  Nothing indictable.  Finally, I think Janet Reno was getting frustrated, and so they sent this undercover cop in to try to make some pro-lifer do something destructive.  They picked the most vulnerable person they could find, this young mother, who at the time, was pregnant with her third child, and feeling very guilty from the abortion she had when she was 15.  It was her school teacher who had gotten her pregnant when she was 15, and he had taken her to an abortion mill and said, "You're just going to get an exam" and she went in and they aborted her.  She was just 15 years old and she came out crying, screaming, "You lied to me, you lied to me!"  So because of the guilt she felt from that experience, years later when she was just a 22 year-old mother, pregnant with her third child, this FBI agent comes in to set her up.  It was already documented that she was on the heavy medication for depression, and already feeling guilty.  This agent pressures her to do this act, then they threaten to send her away with a 40 year sentence so Janet Reno can have her chance to say, "We got a pro-lifer who's a violent pro-lifer with a connection with a non-violent movement going into abortion mills counselling mothers!"  What a shame. 

So Rick Thomas acted under direct pressure from Janet Reno?

BELL: Absolutely!  It was right out of the Washington office.  It was absolutely a planned thing.  I don't think they wanted it to go to trial.  I think no matter what happened they wouldn't let it go to trial, especially if we pro-lifers were there, and our press—the regular press might be there, but if our people were there they would have known they had a problem.  It was really not right.  So she's been in jail now.  She's been in for about a year now, and she has another year and a half to go. 

You have many friends and supporters around the world.  What is the best thing they can do for you now?

BELL: Oh, The very best thing they could do for me now is say a prayer for the judge, and for myself and my family, especially my kids, that we always do God's will in all things with great joy, and, number two, if they are already going out to the abortion mills, please consistently continue to go.  If they are not going out to the abortion mills please try to go out, at least one holy hour a week.  And just pray or do whatever God calls you to do.  That's the best thing they could do for me, or for any of us, for our country, for God.  That would be the best thing.

Your situation certainly sounds like a poetic irony out of apocalyptic fiction.  A Catholic laywoman who has suffered imprisonment and injustice for her Catholic principles has been called before a judge who is a former Catholic priest.  It seems like a sign of the times.

BELL: Yes, it sounds like that.

How do you assess the present state of the pro-life movement in the battle to end abortion and save lives in the United States?

BELL: I'm deeply moved by the fact that there are people in the movement who have been involved from the very beginning, from the first time they heard that children were endangered by this brutal killing—it goes back to the 60s for some people, and they stay involved, they just never stop loving the children, never stop serving God, and they're out there.  That's the thing that gives me the greatest hope and encouragement, because for that kind of love and dedication, I believe, if worst comes to worst, God will intervene directly.  

The other thing I see is a lot of new people, a lot of young people, who were not raised in good Catholic homes but were raised in the world, in heresy.  I see those who came from nominal Catholic homes, that were in complete heresy without any true teaching, or love for the Church or love for the sacraments.  They are coming back to Christ, they are coming to Christ, they're coming to the Church, they're coming to the sacraments, and they're going out on the picket lines and going out for prayer vigils and praying the rosary, and going to adoration.  I say to them, "Who taught you about it?  How did you know?" And they say "We just knew."  Sometimes they don't even know how it happened.  God has touched their hearts.  I think a great thing is happening in the world.  I didn't see that 10 years ago.  

I think God is moving, God is bringing people to Himself and to the truth, and I'm excited by it.  And then, of course, that's in one sphere.  In the other, more and more people who have not dedicated themselves, or turned to God are getting harder and harder hearted.  They are the ones who have seen the truth at some point and closed their hearts to the truth.  And you see some even among the clergy who have done that, and that's scary, that's very scary.

Yes, indeed.  Do you think your current situation will serve to revive the rescue movement as your release from the Pensacola prison did 10 years ago?

BELL: Oh, my goodness!  I certainly don't think it was my release that did it 10 years ago!  I think it was a guy called Randy Terry who entered the rescue movement and that's what did it!

But you were right there at the center too, you were—I know you're uncomfortable with this—but you were regarded as a heroine, and I think rightly so, and I know that it did have an affect on a real upsurge in the movement in the late 80s, but then, when the penalties became more and more drastic and terrible many people couldn't participate as they would have liked to after that.

BELL: Yes, yes.  I don't know.  I would be honored if God used this in a small way, that would be great, but I see these others who are languishing in jail, their example, their witnesses is so far greater, and they've been doing it over the years, even when I have focused mainly on raising my family.  But whoever God wants to use to do it, if He wants to use any of us, or if He just wants to just touch someone's heart, regardless of any of us who are involved in jail time right now, however He wants to do it, that would be great.

Well, a very important part of pro-life work is raising a family, tell us about your family and your life in the last several years since you've been out of the public eye. 

BELL: I'm a home-schooling mother, I do the Seton Home School Program which is very beautiful, which is out of Front Royal, Virginia.  My husband, Christopher, runs Good Counsel Homes, which are homes for pregnant mothers and mothers of young children.  He is starting his fifth home, plus helping with his sixth home.  He's helped over 3,000 mothers and children in this work.  He's been doing this work for about twelve years.  I've been somewhat involved in that, but mostly I try to get out to the abortion mills whenever I can with the children, and with my husband, and we pray.  We hand out literature and counsel the mothers.  I rescue once in a while from time to time but not very often on a regular basis.  Mainly I do some counselling.


We started a little program called Adoption Outreach.  Its main purpose first of all is to educate women who are pregnant who have been told by their doctor that they are carrying a severely handicapped child.  We want them to know that most likely that is a misdiagnosis.  In most cases I have been involved in, and those I have heard of, the vast majority of the women have perfectly healthy children.  Even when told by a corroborating physician that they are going to have a severely handicapped child, it has been my experience, as well as in what I have read in testimony and cases cited, that this is often not the case.  So there is a huge error either in diagnosis or in medical testing, in some of the early testing or later testing.  Now, it's not that there are not handicapped children that can be identified once in a while in utero, but it's very, very fallible.  So, number one, is that most likely they're going to have a really healthy child, and secondly, if they are among the very small percentage that do have a handicapped child, there are hundreds of loving couples who would adopt the child no matter how severely handicapped it is, and we have a list of couples who want to adopt handicapped children.  So this is the information we try to get out, to get them to please not abort the child.

When I was working as an editor of a diocesan newspaper I interviewed a missionary priest the archdiocese had at a mission in Guatemala.  I asked him how the Guatemalan people feel about Americans, and he gave me the most astonishing answer—I was expecting something to do with politics, but he said "They are afraid the Americans will steal their children."  This priest said the Guatemalan people had a sense, an intuition, that there were not enough children in America, and they were frightened that Americans would actually steal their children down there.  I was amazed by that.  It seemed like an almost prophetic warning.

BELL: It is amazing.  You think back to the 50s, how many children were available for adoption, and these days, out of about 3,000 mothers my husband has worked with, only three of them gave their children up for adoption.  These were all single mothers.  But the vast majority will abort if they are not going to keep it themselves.  There's a great prejudice against adoption and I think it is deliberate.  I think it is a result of  propaganda on the part of the media and on the part of Planned Parenthood to make a woman feel like she's a bad mother if she gives her child up for adoption, that's she's abandoning the child, but she's a good, responsible mother if she aborts.  

I've heard this repeated again and again, and I hear it from people who have been counseled at Planned Parenthood, from TV movies and so forth.  It's a predominant theme.  It's no wonder so many women think that way. The counselling they get at Planned Parenthood and other killing centers is that of "Do what's best for yourself."  They constantly tell people to be selfish.  "Do what's best for yourself and if you do what's best for yourself that's best for the baby anyway because it will be unwanted, or if it's adopted it will be abused, and this and that" —you know.  So they kind of placate the woman's conscience by telling her to be selfish and that is best for the child anyway.  It's very, very evil.

That selfishness was once illustrated to me while having lunch with a co-worker some years ago, a woman in her late forties or early fifties, who identified herself as "pro-choice."  When I asked her why, she said, very pleasantly and very normally, "If you're pregnant and you carry that baby to term, and once you hold it in your arms, you can't give it up"  and I said very matter of factly, "So you kill it?" and she just said, "Well, yes."  She said that with no compunction, just, "Well, yes." and I couldn't believe my ears.

BELL: Yes, I think that really reflects the majority opinion these days.  Most people I believe, are not ashamed at all by the fact that abortion is killing.  They can acknowledge that abortion is killing, and very matter of factly say it's a good.  It's fine.  It's okay.  It's an option.

I recall the very day you visited Boston College about ten years ago.  There was a debate, you may recall, which was hastily arranged as a kind of a protest of your appearance.  The pro-lifers thought they were diligently doing their job arguing for the humanity of the child, and all of a sudden one of the debaters from the other side said, "We don't care if it's human, what matters is the woman!"  And that was another eye-opener.

BELL: Yes, that was very shocking that day.  They are saying, "We discriminate.  It doesn't matter if the child is a human being, a member of the human family.  We want to side with one member, one group of the human family, and let her have her way and be selfish, and brutalize the other, be a tyrant over the other.  They would be ashamed to say it in a racist situation.

But it's no more difficult to help both of them, mother and child.

BELL: Yes, yes, that's it!  It's not as though a woman is going to die if she has a baby!  And she could always give it up for adoption, but rather than her having the slightest little discomfort or problem they abort.  And yet, the truth is, women are harmed by abortion.  Anytime that one defies or goes against the laws of God and human nature you harm yourself, deeply and irrevocably, actually.  The women are harming themselves.  And the others are promoting the deep, deep harm of women by supporting the brutal murder of children.  It is such blindness.

If you should, God forbid, be sent to prison for an indefinite term, and we are unable to speak with you for a while what message would you like to leave your many friends and supporters with until we hear from you again?

BELL: I'd just like to give my love and gratitude for all the support and prayers I've received over the years.  I continue to hear from people that I've met or maybe even who have written to me years ago.  They still hold me in their prayers.  I would like to communicate to them that certainly every day at holy Mass I pray for everyone who has ever prayed for me, and I love you deeply and dearly, and I thank you for your undying support of the little babies, and love for them and I know God honors it beyond words more than any of us will ever know until we face Him face to face. 

And our love for you, Joan.

BELL: Thank you.

Can you cite any Scripture passages that help you, or saints that inspire you in these difficult times?

BELL: There are so many, so many... It's hard to single any out... I think just the whole New Testament, the Beatitudes inspire me so much, the words out of Christ's mouth.  Love your enemies.  That certainly enkindles my heart for Judge Novak and the abortionists.  And then my Godson!  You know, Dr. Bernard Nathanson is my Godson, and that draws me more deeply to love all of those who are involved in the killing.  

I also met someone at the PLAN (Pro-Life Action Network) convention in Milwaukee this past September, Joan Appleton.  She was formerly a head nurse at an abortion mill and now she loves God so much!  She came back to her Catholic faith and is defending the babies, dedicating the rest of her life to defending the babies and trying to stop abortion—and she shines!  She glows with a holy light!  I'm so attracted to her.  How beautiful to see, like Dr. Nathanson, someone who was involved in the killing can have such grief of soul for what they had done, and now, serve God so beautifully, so perfectly.  Their grief is so real and so honored by God.  So these people, these living people inspire me so much.  

And certainly all the saints.  Saints like Saint Paul, who at one time persecuted Christ, and now is serving Christ.  They give me such great hope for all those who are on the other side, that they will, by the grace of God, and through our—please God—our good, loving, kind, holy example, and calling on God's grace to be that way for them, we hope that they'll come over to the truth before it's too late.

Well, our Pope has identified our Culture of Death, where do you think we stand now in the battle?  There's always cause for Christian hope, but what about human optimism or pessimism?

BELL: I still have the hope that there can be a huge turnabout.  A great conversion.  Just like at the time of the early Christians.  First there was just the twelve, who were afraid and scared.  It was just them against the world.  Then there was this great anointing of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, then conversions, and then persecutions, and continued conversions.  I can see something like that happen.  

Right now the greatest enemy of the babies is the lukewarmness among those who are not for the killing, but are just too indifferent to stop the killing.  Now, many say that the majority are against abortion but just don't care, it's not the number one issue with them.  I don't really believe that myself.  I don't believe the majority of people in this country are against the killing.  I do think the majority of people, if not everyone, is uncomfortable with it, but I believe if they were really against the killing we could do something about it.  We could vote it out.  We could have voted it out the very first year.  We could have taken to the streets.  We could have stopped it the very first week.

Yes, I just don't think it's real to people.

BELL: Yeah, I don't think it is, and I think the love in our hearts—I'm talking "us" as our nation, and as a global community because this is happening in almost every nation of the world—our hearts are not enkindled for the children, not aflame with any love  for the children and therefore not with a great love for God.  We allow such brutality.  

We wouldn't want to think of this happening to a dog, and yet we know it's happening to children, but the economy is more important to us, or wages, or a host of other issues, even among people who say, "Oh, I'm against abortion" and yet, "but I'm going to vote for Clinton because of this, or that, or the other thing."  I think that's scary.  

I do know God can turn all that lukewarmness around, which is the greatest enemy of the children, in the Church even.  But at the same time if we don't respond to God's grace as a nation, as a Church, in the global scheme of things, I do think that the only way to turn it around if we don't start converting is divine intervention; that God is going to have to wake us up.  

But we're flooded with grace anyway right now.  I believe our earth is flooded with grace, our Church is flooded with grace—very special grace—extraordinary grace right now, and God is beckoning us.  But if we remain cold-hearted as a majority—as I said, I see signs, there are conversions taking place, this grace is working in some people's hearts but it's not going to make a difference in the over-all picture where our nation turns against abortion, where we come right under God and justice begins to rule in our land.  Right now we have an illegitimate government—not simply because our abortion laws are null and void—but because we have a nation that supports mass murder of a segment of people.  We have the laws that support that mass murder, and we punish people who violate them by trying to protect the innocent.  

Our courts are in a horrendous situation.  In fact, there is no law and order, anarchy is reigning.  Whenever a whole segment of humanity can be put to death, that is anarchy.  And when people try to enforce the legitimate laws they are thrown in jail and mistreated, that is anarchy.  That is a government gone totally awry, and that is actually an illegitimate government.  Things are very, very bad—very, very bad.  Worse than a lot of people realize, and I think divine intervention may be the only thing that will turn it around—if we don't respond to God's grace which is flooding the world right now I think we're going to get a chastisement.

I know from two books about you, (You Reject Them, You Reject Me: the Prison Letters of Joan Andrews, Richard Cowden-Guido, ed.; Trinity Communications, 1988; and I Will Never Forget You: the Rescue Movement in the Life of Joan Andrews, by Joan Andrews with John Cavanaugh-O'Keefe; Ignatius 1989) That you were a student of the Holocaust.  I was watching a documentary the other day, and I heard a quote that struck me with amazement.  Joseph Stalin, a brutal man and no friend of life, was speaking to his armies as they were heading off to Germany to finish off the war.  He said to them, "Remember when you get into Germany, only the unborn are innocent."

BELL: That's amazing.

I saw a picture of you, Chris and the children, and they're beautiful. 

BELL: Yes, the kids are so good, both of our kids go into the abortion mill and counsel, and certainly my son is very good at it, he hands out literature, even when people say, "Grow up and make up you're own mind, when you grow up!"

Well, there is a role for guidance which so many parents have abandoned.

BELL: Right, absolutely, but he is cute, he stood up and was undaunted!

And Mary Louise, I can see you and Chris both in her, she's a beautiful little girl.

BELL: I told Mary today,  "Now you know I may be going to jail for a little while, or it might be for a long time, and I just want you to know."  And she said, "Well, will daddy be here?" and I said, "Oh, of course!"  and she said, "Okay!"  So it's good.  They're good kids, and they're at peace and they understand.  Whatever God brings is a gift.  All things are gifts when accepted with love and gratitude for God's will.




The Interviews