“Mary Wagner's incarceration brings shame to the Canadian government,” said the Right to Life Foundation from Poland during a picket in front of the Canadian embassy in Warsaw.
Mary Wagner is in a Canadian prison for defending human rights. She spent Christmas in jail after being arrested December 24. She had already spent over two years in prison for her whole-hearted efforts to help women and children in front of an abortion clinic in Toronto. Wagner is a gentle and modest woman who never harmed anyone. Nonetheless, the Canadian justice system has treated her with the utmost severity and harshness and has not given the defense any chances to present her case. No experts were allowed to testify during her trial. Neither Amnesty International nor Human Rights Watch has taken any notice of her case.
That’s why other people need to cry out against this injustice.
Wagner’s plight has not been ignored in Poland, a country she visited last year. A picket in front of the Canadian embassy in Warsaw was organized by the Right to Life Foundation on Thursday, January 8. Though it was a work day, 150 people came to demonstrate for two hours, not discouraged by the cold. Many of them had had a chance to meet Wagner in Poland during her October 2014 visit. These protestors feel they owe Wagner for her courageous action in defense of the unborn.
Jacek Kotula and Przemysław Sycz, two pro-lifers who face charges levied by the Pro-Familia Hospital, were among the protesters, as were three members of Parliament, and a Catholic priest who had visited Wagner in prison. During the picket Professor Zbigniew Stawrowski talked about the absurdities of the Canadian law. He said that Canada’s human rights laws stem from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Mary’s imprisonment violates these rights.
Kotula told LifeSiteNews that a policeman in front of the embassy asked about the picket’s purpose and could not believe that Canada put its citizens in jail for protesting abortion. “He simply shook his head in disbelief,” Kotula said.
Mariusz Dzierżawski of the Right to Life Foundation gave an embassy representative two white and two red roses for Ambassador Alexandra Bugailiskis, who was absent that day. The white and red colors represent the national colors of both Poland and Canada. The roses were a nod to Wagner—who often offers women in abortion clinics roses. The flowers were brought by the priest and a nun who came up with the same idea separately. Dzierżawski also passed on an open letter to the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper. (The letter in Polish and English can be found here.)
Dzierżawski’s letter compares Wagner’s persecution and prosecution to his country’s Communist past. He wrote: “To call killing unborn babies a ‘business operation,’ and to treat people trying to save their lives like criminals reminds us Poles of the Communist terror, when people fighting for basic human rights were persecuted in countless ways. Many of these people were incarcerated after being tried according to unjust laws.”
Dzierżawski also invoked some of Canada’s human rights champions: “Mr. Harper, to paraphrase the Toronto Anti-Slavery Society, legal abortion is an outrage to the laws of humanity and its continued practice demands the best exertions for its extinction.”
In an emotional plea, he added: “Mr. Harper, you are the leader of the majority party in the Canadian Parliament. You could act to stop the killing of innocent unborn babies ….
Mr. Harper, history will remember your actions. We hope that you will be mentioned with men such as Abraham Lincoln, for standing up for those without any rights.”
Another picket is planned next month in Warsaw. One already took place last weekend in Berlin, Germany, and Kotula told LifeSiteNews that demonstrations are planned in front of Canadian embassies in Italy, France, Spain, and Belgium. In January and February, a documentary about Mary’s story entitled “Not about Mary” will be shown in Canada (Toronto and Hamilton) and the United States (Boston and New York) in both Polish and English.
In the meantime, Wagner is fasting and praying for a fellow prisoner who is determined to abort her baby at six and a half months. Modest and not concerned with her own problems, she always tries to help others. “Peace and joy abound in Mary,” her mother, Jane Wagner wrote in an open letter to Polish people.
“Mary is there with hope, because this life is finite, and God sees and knows all things. She brings Him to others through her gentle and prayerful presence. She is a small beacon of light behind the bars,” her mother wrote.
Mary’s mother thanked everyone for emotionally supporting her daughter, and also expressed disappointment with the Catholic hierarchy in Canada: “Our priests are strangely silent, for the most part. Our Bishops are no different. They love peace. They don't want confrontation. They don't want change. They don't want to be uncomfortable. They are willing to compromise with evil just to keep people happy and quiet. … [Mary] understands that true peace cannot be wrought by complacency with evil, and that without the Truth, we are all empty pots.”
She also gave us a glimpse on the conditions of the Canadian prison where Mary suffers, as do all prisoners, from lack of privacy and freedom, constant noise, and sometimes from cold and hunger. She wrote that they are not often treated with the dignity due to them as part of the human family.
When Wagner’s mother expressed concern for her daughter’s safety in prison, Mary replied, “Don't worry, Mama. They love me in there.”
A video of the picket can be watched here.