On March 28, after spending 48 days in jail awaiting trial, pro-life activist Mary Wagner had her day in court. She was arrested and charged with mischief in February after allegedly entering the Choice in Health Clinic, and offering assistance to pregnant women seeking abortions at the Toronto abortion facility.
Wagner was arrested Feb. 9 after peacefully handing out roses to pregnant mothers entering the abortion centre. On a small card with each rose, Wagner wrote: “you were made to love and to be loved. Your goodness is greater than the difficulties of your situation. Circumstances in life change. A new life, however tiny, brings the promise of unrepeatable joy. There is still hope!”
The Crown argued that the facility has “the right to operate without interference,” but Wagner, who had discharged her lawyer, concentrated not on legal arguments, but rather the plight of the unborn and their mothers.
Wagner read a brief statement, saying the business the Crown was defending “exists almost exclusively for the purpose of destroying children in their mothers’ wombs; under the guise of serving women, helpless babies are killed there, and their mothers are left wounded.”
Both pro-life and pro-abortion activists were present at the hearing, including representatives of Campaign Life Coalition, the National Campus Life Network, Aid to Women and the University of Toronto Students for Life.
When Wagner finished reading her statement, she asked for a moment of silence, which was refused by Justice J. Sutherland and which elicited snickers from the handful of abortion supporters in the audience.
The Crown called three witnesses: the facility program manager, an abortion counselor from Choice in Health, and one of the arresting officers. All three claimed Wagner trespassed, but they each admitted that while the pro-life activist distributed roses and pleaded with women to reconsider having an abortion, she was not violent. The Crown argued that the safety of workers and visiting women were “in jeopardy” and that the facility could not return to its “normal duties.”
The judge ordered the court to dismiss everything Wagner had said because it was deemed irrelevant to the matter at hand. He found Wagner guilty of mischief and sentenced her to one year probation with an order to not go near any Toronto abortion facility.