Mary Wagner takes witness stand at her trial
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.
See related LifeSiteNews articles: