Did Ontario’s legislature censor a rally for prisoner Mary Wagner’s birthday? Pro-lifers think so. Here’s why.
TORONTO, February 13, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- When 25 people gathered in front of the Ontario legislature February 12 to mark the 41st birthday of jailed pro-lifer Mary Wagner and ask for her release from jail, they faced bitterly cold winds – and, they say, the icy chill of censorship.
Queen’s Park security guards asked members of the Friends in Solidarity with Mary Wagner to remove two large graphic images of aborted babies, saying the signs would offend children who might be visiting the legislature.
That caused one notable participant, Linda Gibbons, to make off to a nearby meridian on busy University Avenue, where she displayed the sign to oncoming traffic. An inspiration for Wagner, Gibbons has spent over five years in jail for pro-life intervention, mainly sidewalk counseling, and says the security guards’ concern is “rank hypocrisy. They don’t want the survivors of abortion to see what’s happening to children.”
Meanwhile, stalwart participants bundled in parkas and scarves carried signs praising Wagner and comparing the gentle, dark-haired woman to Abraham Lincoln, also born on February 12. Just as the US president fought to free the slaves, “Mary Wagner is now fighting for the right of unborn children to live,” noted organizer Andrzej Caruk.
The idea of the dual birthday celebration occurred to Caruk after he attended Wagner’s February 5 court hearing. “We decided it would be a great way to honor her,” the Kitchener chiropractor told LifeSiteNews.
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They also made Wagner an honorary Polish citizen, adding another strand to the ongoing and remarkably strong bond between the soft-spoken Canadian pro-lifer and the Polish community. Wagner visited Poland this fall and was featured in a documentary “Not about Mary Wagner” by Polish director Grzegorz Braun, which premiered this January in Mississauga. The Polish bishops have spoken out on her behalf. “Poles have a history of being persecuted,” Caruk said. “They appreciate what Mary’s going through.”
Participant Krystyna Jekielek said she came to Queen’s Park this day because she is pro-life. “The German fascists said the Jews had no rights,” she said, “and to say unborn children have no rights, we feel this is the same thing.” Kyrs Orzechowski sacrificed his lunch hour to attend, saying he wanted to “support the cause, to change the law, and to free Mary Wagner.” Caruk also has started a petition asking that Wagner be freed, and that when in jail she be allowed to go to Mass.
Wagner has been incarcerated at the Vanier Centre for Women in Milton, Ontario, since her December 23, 2014 arrest at a west Toronto abortion facility. Charged with trespassing, Wagner stated in a January 16 court appearance that she would henceforth remain silent and without legal counsel, in solidarity with the victims of abortion. Her next court appearance is scheduled for February 17.
Supporters are asking that people keep Mary in their prayers. Her address is Mary Wagner, c/o Vanier Centre for Women prison, P.O. Box 1040, 655 Martin St., Milton, ON, L9T 5E6.