Tony Gosgnach

Mary Wagner takes witness stand at her trial

Tony Gosgnach
By Tony Gosgnach
Image

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:

 
 
 
 
 

Red alert! Only 2 days left.

Support pro-life news. Help us reach our critical spring fundraising goal by April 1!


Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Newsbusters Staff

,

Disney ABC embraces X-rated anti-Christian bigot Dan Savage in new prime time show

Newsbusters Staff
By

March 30, 2015 (NewsBusters.org) -- Media Research Center (MRC) and Family Research Council (FRC) are launching a joint national campaign to educate the public about a Disney ABC sitcom pilot based on the life of bigoted activist Dan Savage. MRC and FRC contacted Ben Sherwood, president of Disney/ABC Television Group, more than two weeks ago urging him to put a stop to this atrocity but received no response. [Read the full letter]

A perusal of Dan Savage’s work reveals a career built on advocating violence — even murder — and spewing hatred against people of faith. Savage has spared no one with whom he disagrees from his vitriolic hate speech. Despite his extremism, vulgarity, and unabashed encouragement of dangerous sexual practices, Disney ABC is moving forward with this show, disgustingly titled “Family of the Year.”

Media Research Center President Brent Bozell reacts:

“Disney ABC’s decision to effectively advance Dan Savage’s calls for violence against conservatives and his extremist attacks against people of faith, particularly evangelicals and Catholics, is appalling and outrageous. If hate speech were a crime, this man would be charged with a felony. Disney ABC giving Dan Savage a platform for his anti-religious bigotry is mind-boggling and their silence is deafening.

“By creating a pilot based on the life of this hatemonger and bringing him on as a producer, Disney ABC is sending a signal that they endorse Dan Savage’s wish that a man be murdered. He has stated, ‘Carl Romanelli should be dragged behind a pickup truck until there’s nothing left but the rope.’ ABC knows this. We told them explicitly.

“If the production of ‘Family of the Year’ is allowed to continue, not just Christians but all people of goodwill can only surmise that the company Walt Disney created is endorsing violence.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins reacts:

“Does ABC really want to produce a pilot show based on a vile bully like Dan Savage?  Do Dan Savage’s over-the top-obscenity, intimidation of teenagers and even violent rhetoric reflect the values of Disney?  Partnering with Dan Savage and endorsing his x-rated message will be abandoning the wholesome values that have attracted millions of families to Walt Disney.”

Dan Savage has made numerous comments about conservatives, evangelicals, and Catholics that offend basic standards of decency. They include:

  • Proclaiming that he sometimes thinks about “f****ing the shit out of” Senator Rick Santorum

  • Calling for Christians at a high school conference to “ignore the bull**** in the Bible”

  • Saying that “the only thing that stands between my d*** and Brad Pitt’s mouth is a piece of paper” when expressing his feelings on Pope Benedict’s opposition to gay marriage

  • Promoting marital infidelity

  • Saying “Carl Romanelli should be dragged behind a pickup truck until there’s nothing left but the rope.”

  • Telling Bill Maher that he wished Republicans “were all f***ing dead”

  • Telling Dr. Ben Carson to “suck my d***. Name the time and place and I’ll bring my d*** and a camera crew and you can s*** me off and win the argument.”

Reprinted with permission from Newsbusters

Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Jacqueline Harvey

Ending the end-of-life impasse: Texas is poised to ban doctor-imposed death by starvation

Jacqueline Harvey
By Jacqueline Harvey

AUSTIN, Texas, March 30, 2015 (TexasInsider.org)  After five consecutive sessions of bitter battles over end-of-life bills, the Texas Legislature is finally poised to pass the first reform to the Texas Advance Directives Act (TADA) in 12 years. An issue that created uncanny adversaries out of natural allies, and equally odd bedfellows, has finally found common ground in H.B. 3074 by State Rep. Drew Springer.  

H.B. 3074 simply prohibits doctor-imposed euthanasia by starvation and dehydration.

Since H.B. 3074 includes only those provisions and language that all major organizations are on record as having deemed acceptable in previous legislative sessions, there is finally hope of ending the end-of-life impasse in the Texas Capitol.

Many would be surprised to learn that Texas law allows physicians to forcibly remove a feeding tube against the will of the patient and their family. In fact, there is a greater legal penalty for failing to feed or water an animal than for a hospital to deny a human being food and water through a tube.

This is because there is no penalty whatsoever for a healthcare provider who wishes to deny artificially-administered nutrition and hydration (AANH). According to Texas Health and Safety Code, “every living dumb creature” is legally entitled access to suitable food and water.

Denying an animal food and water, like in this January case in San Antonio, is punishable by civil fines up to $10,000 and criminal penalties up to two years in jail per offense. Yet Texas law allows health care providers to forcibly deny food and water from human beings – what they would not be able to legally do to their housecat. And healthcare providers are immune from civil and criminal penalties for denial of food and water to human beings as long as they follow the current statutory process which is sorely lacking in safeguards.

Therefore, while it is surprising that Texas has the only state law that explicitly mentions food and water delivered artificially for the purpose of completely permitting its forced denial (the other six states mention AANH explicitly for the opposite purpose, to limit or prohibit its refusal), it is not at all surprising that the issue of protecting a patient’s right to food and water is perhaps the one point of consensus across all major stakeholders.

H.B. 3074 is the first TADA reform bill to include only this provision that is agreed upon across all major players in previous legislative sessions.

There are irreconcilable ideological differences between two major right-to-life organizations that should supposedly be like-minded: Texas Alliance for Life and Texas Right to Life. Each faction (along with their respective allies) have previously sponsored broad and ambitious bills to either preserve but reform the current law (Texas Alliance for Life’s position) or overturn it altogether as Texas Right to Life aims to do.

Prior to H.B. 3074, bills filed by major advocacy organizations have often included AANH, but also a host of other provisions that were so contentious and unacceptable to other organizations that each bill ultimately died, and this mutually-agreed-upon and vital reform always died along with it.

2011 & 2013 Legislative Sessions present prime example

This 2011 media report shows the clear consensus on need for legislation to simply address the need to protect patients’ rights to food and water:

“Hughes [bill sponsor for Texas Right to Life] has widespread support for one of his bill’s goals: making food and water a necessary part of treatment and not something that can be discontinued, unless providing it would harm the patient.”

Nonetheless, in 2013, both organizations and their allies filed complicated, contentious opposing bills, both of which would have protected a patient’s right to food and water but each bill also included provisions the rival group saw as contrary to their goals. Both bills were ultimately defeated and neither group was able to achieve protections for patients at risk of forced starvation and dehydration – a mutual goal that could have been met through a third, narrow bill like H.B. 3074.

H.B. 3074 finally focuses on what unites the organizations involved rather than what divides them, since these differences have resulted in a 12 year standoff with no progress whatsoever.

H.B. 3074 is progress that is pre-negotiated and pre-approved.

It is not a fertile springboard for negotiations on an area of mutual agreement. Rather it is the culmination of years of previous negotiations on bills that all came too late, either due to the complexnature of rival bills, the controversy involved, or even both.

On the contrary, H.B. 3074 is not just simply an area of agreement; moreover, it is has already been negotiated. It should not be stymied by disagreements on language, since Texas Alliance for Life and Texas Right to Life (along with their allies) were able to agree on language in 2007 with C.S.S.B. 439. C.S.S.B. 439 reads that, unlike the status quo that places no legal conditions on when food and water may be withdrawn, it would be permitted for those in a terminal condition if,

“reasonable medical evidence indicates the provision of artificial nutrition and hydration may hasten the patient’s death or seriously exacerbate other major medical problems and the risk of serious medical pain or discomfort that cannot be alleviated based on reasonable medical judgment outweighs the benefit of continued artificial nutrition and hydration.”

This language is strikingly similar to H.B. 3074 which states, “except that artificially administered nutrition and hydration must be provided unless, based on reasonable medical judgment, providingartificially administered nutrition and hydration would:

  1. Hasten the patient’s death;
  2. Seriously exacerbate other major medical problems not outweighed by the benefit of the provision of the treatment;
  3. Result in substantial irremediable physical pain, suffering, or discomfort not outweighed by the benefit of the provision of the treatment;
  4. Be medically ineffective; or
  5. Be contrary to the patient’s clearly stated desire not to receive artificially administered nutrition or hydration.”

With minimal exceptions (the explicit mention of the word terminal, the issue of medical effectiveness and the patient’s right to refuse), the language is virtually identical, and in 2007 Texas Right to Life affirmed this language as clarifying that “ANH can only be withdrawn if the risk of providing ANH is greater than the benefit of continuing it.”

Texas Right to Life would support the language in H.B. 3074 that already has Texas Alliance for Life’s endorsement. Any reconciliation on the minor differences in language would therefore be minimal and could be made by either side, but ultimately, both sides and their allies would gain a huge victory – the first victory in 12 years on this vital issue.

It seems that the Texas Advance Directive Act, even among its sympathizers, has something for everyone to oppose.

The passage of H.B. 3074 and the legal restoration of rights to feeding tubes for Texas patients will not begin to satisfy critics of the Texas Advance Directives Act who desire much greater changes to the law and will assuredly continue to pursue them. H.B. 3074 in no way marks the end for healthcare reform, but perhaps a shift from the belief that anything short of sweeping changes is an endorsement of the status quo.

Rather, we can look at H.B. 3074 as breaking a barrier and indicating larger changes are possible.

And if nothing else, by passing H.B. 3074 introduced by State Rep. Drew Springer, we afford human beings in Texas the same legal access to food and water that we give to our horses. What is cruel to do to an animal remains legal to do to humans in Texas if organizations continue to insist on the whole of their agenda rather than agreeing to smaller bills like H.B. 3074.

The question is, can twelve years of bad blood and bickering be set aside for even this most noble of causes?

Reprinted from TexasInsider.org with the author's permission. 

Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Only 3 Days Left!
John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

Only 3 Days Left!

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
By John-Henry Westen

I can’t believe how quickly our annual Spring campaign has flown by. Now,with only 3 days remaining, we still have $96,000 left to raise to meet our absolute minimum goal.

That’s why I must challenge you to stop everything, right now, and make a donation of whatever amount you can afford to support the pro-life and pro-family investigative reporting of LifeSite!

I simply cannot overemphasize how important your donation, no matter how large or small, is to the continued existence of LifeSite. 

For 17 years, we have relied almost exclusively on the donations of our growing army of everyday readers like you: readers who are tired of the anti-life and anti-family bias of the mainstream media, and who are looking for a different kind of news agency.

We at LifeSite have always striven to be that news agency, and your ever-faithful support has encouraged us to forge ahead fearlessly in this mission to promote the Culture of Life through investigative news reporting.

You will find our donation page is incredibly simple and easy to use. Making your donation will take less than two minutes, and then you can get back to the pressing duties scheduled for your day. But those two minutes means the world to us!

If you have not had the opportunity to see the video message from the Benham Brothers to all of our readers, I encourage you to do so (click here to view).

The Benham Brothers are only one of many, many pro-life and family leaders, media personalities, politicians, and activists around the world who rely on LifeSite on a daily basis!

Since our humble beginnings in the late 90s, LifeSite has gone from a small non-profit to an international force in the battle for life and family, read by over 5 million people every month

This is thanks only to the leaders, activists, and ordinary readers just like you who have recognized the importance truth plays in turning the tides of the Culture.

I want to thank the many readers who helped bring us within striking distance of our minimum goal with their donations over the weekend. 

But though we have made great strides in the past few days, we still need many more donations if we are going to have any hope of making it all the way by April 1st.

In these final, anxious days of our quarterly campaigns, I am always tempted to give in to fear, imagining what will happen if we don’t reach our goal.

In these moments, however, I instead turn to prayer, remembering that God in his providence has never yet let us down. With His help we have always been given precisely what we need to carry on!

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

Thank you so much for your support. 

Share this article

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook