Tony Gosgnach

Mary Wagner takes witness stand at her trial

Tony Gosgnach
By Tony Gosgnach
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TORONTO, December 12, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After two days of testimonies from abortion personnel at Toronto’s “Women’s Care Clinic” on Lawrence Avenue West, it was time Thursday for Mary Wagner to take the witness stand and offer her version of events that transpired at the abortion centre on August 12, 2012.

She is on trial on charges of mischief and three counts of failing to comply with probation orders for entering the centre that day with pamphlets and roses and attempting to counsel women to keep their babies. She has remained in prison since that time, refusing to accept bail conditions for reasons of conscience. The trial is being held before Justice Fergus O’Donnell.

The trial had heard from head abortionist Saira Markovic, head nurse/office manager Khatija Akoojee and receptionists Jane Yoon and April Cabaluna, as well as Toronto Police Service Constable Richard Mau. The Crown concluded its case when proceedings began Thursday morning.

Wagner then took the witness stand, to be questioned by her counsel, Dr. Charles Lugosi. He began by asking about her life and role models. Wagner responded by calling Mother Teresa of Calcutta one of her major influences. “She showed how our faith can be animated through loving our neighbor,” she said.

She added she formed her pro-life views through the example of her mother specifically, who went through several difficult pregnancies and was willing to lay her life down for her biological brothers and sisters, and her parents generally, who fostered numerous children over a period of a decade and a half.

A visit to the site of the Auschwitz concentration camp also impacted her, especially reading the guest book that included entries from people signing it, “Never again.” She realized history is repeating itself and began to weep in court.

After taking a moment to regain her composure, Wagner said she was moved to give more of herself and so her pro-life involvement began in her late teens, when she volunteered for the crisis pregnancy agency Birthright. She was also influenced by the example of Joan Andrews Bell, who was arrested a number of times for peaceful pro-life activism.

Relocating to Ontario, Wagner said she was arrested in March 2010 while attending at a Bloor Street, Toronto abortion site. She did it, she said, because she felt “called to protect my neighbor who is in danger,” realizing that “each human life is precious and each human life begins at conception.”

She said she has since been arrested some half-dozen times, serving a total of over two years in prison for her actions. “I’m not deterred by that. Human beings in the womb are worth protecting.”

She acknowledged being named a recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for her efforts to protect human life, though she said she has not yet physically received it. She added she does not see herself as a criminal, as some critics of her receiving the medal have charged, because she believes she has not committed any moral wrongdoing.

“I hope people will see beyond human laws,” she said. “Human beings are being killed.”

To those who charge she is interfering with “a woman’s choice,” she asks: “What is the choice? The choice to do what? … The termination of a pregnancy is the killing of a human being.”

She said of all places women should get education on embryology and fetal development, it should be at an abortion site. “We need to be there … It’s the last chance for a human being in the womb to be protected … And a woman needs to know there is support for her and her baby.”

Asked if she is willing to pay the price for her beliefs, including possibly spending her entire life in jail, she replied she hoped she would have the strength to do that if necessary, as God has already given her the strength to minister thus far.

Lugosi then questioned Wagner about whether she would return to an abortion site upon her eventual release. “I likely will,” she replied.

Asked specifically about her entry into the Markovic site, Wagner said she was intending to protect human beings from abortion. She would do this by “approaching mothers with love.”

She said she followed a couple into the site, then approached a woman in the waiting room, knelt down, offered her a rose and said, “This is for you. I’m here to support you and your baby.” She said it was not her intention to upset anyone. Almost immediately, she was interrupted by Yoon, who told her to leave.

“My intention was to reach out to mothers, encourage them and offer them support … My hope was that some would accept the support that was offered.” She added if someone was not willing to listen, she respected their decision and moved on to another person.

Akoojee then entered and also told Wagner to leave. The nurse then “got in my way and put her hands on me … I said, ‘This is an assault.’ She said, ‘You can charge me if you want.’” Akoojee then let her go as people were moved out of the waiting room.

Wagner said she then said through a glass partition, “Don’t do this,” and tried the door handle to enter the adjoining room. She was grabbed by Akoojee and Yoon, who eventually pulled her into the hallway as Wagner tried to stand her ground.

In the hallway, Wagner began praying as suddenly, Markovic came out and started screaming, “You’re a psycho!” and “Go f--- yourself.” Wagner said she is certain it was Markovic who uttered those words as she saw that woman on the witness stand at the trial last Friday.

Markovic went back inside and, as Wagner approached other people entering the abortion centre, Akoojee was talking over her, telling them, “Don’t listen to her.” Later, she said Akoojee threatened her with words to the effect of, “I can do much more than this to you.”

When police arrived, Wagner told them she would not leave voluntarily, because “staying here is the only way I can show love and respect to the children being killed.” She said she did not see women crying, as abortion personnel testified happened, but added she would not have been surprised if they were, given the gravity of what they were doing.

Asked by Lugosi if there had been violence during the incident, Wagner said there had been. “Twenty babies were killed and I was assaulted physically and verbally.” She characterized her actions as truthful, peaceful, non-violent and in no way a verbal assault.

She concluded by setting the stage for the planned constitutional challenge of Canada`s abortion law, stating that she was acting under Section 37 of the Criminal Code, which sanctions self-defence of a human being, and acknowledged the trial would serve as a test case in challenging the current definition of a human being in Canadian law – that is, one is not considered human until fully born.

She agreed that, because Parliament will not amend the abortion law of its own accord, she is taking it upon herself to do it.

Perhaps surprisingly, Crown attorney Tracey Vogel had no questions for Wagner, thus ending the trial proper. The case now moves to the consideration of Wagner’s standing for a constitutional challenge, to begin with a hearing in Room 308 of the Ontario Court of Justice, 1000 Finch Avenue West at Dufferin Street in Toronto, on February 4 at 2:15 p.m.

Just before Wagner was handcuffed and led back to the holding cells, Lugosi asked O’Donnell if he would be willing to release Wagner on bail without conditions so she could enjoy freedom for the Christmas season. O’Donnell replied it was tragic that Wagner remains in custody, but the bail conditions are as bare as they can be short of unconditional release. Wagner, he said, “has to make her choice … she is the architect of her future … It’s not within my control. She makes her choice. ”

As Wagner will be imprisoned over the Christmas season, those wishing to send Wagner cards or letters at the jail can find guidelines for doing so through a previous LifeSitenews article.

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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received millions in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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