Joan Andrews is the pro-life activist, whose two-year stay in a Florida prison, pricked the conscience of the American pro-life movement and helped to trigger the series of blockades at abortion clinics staged by Operation Rescue in the late 1980s. Joan was placed in solitary confinement for months at a time during her stay in the Florida prison. She later married Christopher Bell and became the mother of several children, one of them a severly handicapped boy whom the Bells adoped.
After her two-year stay in the Florida prison, she was brought to Pittsburgh in 1988 to serve a jail sentence for an incident in 1985. Her case came before Judge Novak, who sentenced her to 3 years probation. However, she refused to accept the terms of probation (which included a promise not to participate in pro-life blockades) and appealed the case. He put out a warrant for her arrest. Unaware of the warrant, Joan went about her life. She was arrested in 1997 and jailed again. Christopher Bell described his wife as a "political prisoner."