By Patrick B. Craine

SAINT JOHN, New Brunswick, November 10, 2009 ( – Former Canadian Member of Parliament Elsie Wayne, 77, is recovering in a Saint John hospital after suffering two strokes over the weekend.

Wayne was first elected to the House of Commons in 1993 for Saint John and served in that capacity until she retired in 2004.  She was hailed by pro-life leaders as one of the Commons' strongest defenders of life and family during that time.

Wayne regularly participated in the annual Ottawa March for Life events at which she regularly exhibited enthusiastic support for the pro-life cause. Her punchy speeches were known for their unapologetic presentation of her strong views against abortion.

Wayne had one stroke on Friday, followed by a second at the hospital.  According to her son, Steve Wayne, she experienced partial paralysis on one side of her body.

“On Sunday when I talked to (her son) he said she was able to say one word to him and smile,” said family friend Brian Mosher, a Saint John lawyer who worked on campaigns for Wayne. “She seemed to have some recovery on her side that had been affected.”

“She seems a little better,” said Steve. “We're praying, let's put it that way. She's got a lot of people pulling for … she's a tough old girl.”

When Wayne won in 1993, she was one of only two Progressive Conservatives in Parliament.  She eventually became deputy leader of the party.  She was also a dedicated member of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus, serving as its co-chair for a time.

During the 2003 debates over the use of stem cells, Wayne showed her strength and forthrightness.  Referring to human embryos, she said MPs are “talking once again about a tiny cell which is a tiny baby.”

“Would anyone realistically say that it is okay to take the lives of innocent three year olds in the name of medical science?” she asked.  “If it is brutal and barbaric to take the life of a little three year old, why do we, as a society and as a government, not say that it is just as brutal and barbaric to end the life of a healthy fetus in the mother's womb?”

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Canadian Pro-Life Heroine Elsie Wayne Retiring from Federal Politics at 72