After being behind bars since her arrest on Dec. 12, Mary Wagner, centre, walks out of Toronto's Old City Hall a relatively free woman. Photo by Evan Boudreau

Pro-life activist Mary Wagner set free

  • April 26, 2016

TORONTO – Despite receiving the maximum penalty at a sentencing hearing for her pro-life activism, Mary Wagner walked out of Toronto's Old City Hall a relatively free woman April 23.

“It is always good to be free,”” said Wagner, who was sentenced to six months in jail and three years probation with conditions restricting her from being within 100 metres of any abortion clinic in Ontario. 

Having already served more than four months in jail prior to sentencing, which is credited as time and a half served, no additional time behind bars was required. 

Wagner opted to have no legal representation during her trial and sentencing. The 42-year-old pro-lifer also spent much of her time before Justice Katrina Mulligan, who ordered Wagner to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, in silence. 

“I explained this (decision) very clearly in the beginning of the trial,” said Wagner. ““The unborn children have no voice. I am standing in solidarity with them.”” 

On Dec. 12, 2015 Wagner was arrested on two counts of breaching her probation from an earlier conviction and causing mischief by protesting at an abortion clinic in Toronto’s west end, which breached the province's bubble zone law.

The earlier conviction was also a result of Wagner's pro-life activism which typically involves offering women at abortion clinics roses and words of encouragement to not abort the child so that it can be put up for adoption.

About 20 people from the pro-life movement appeared in the courtroom holding roses as a sign of support for Wagner. 

““I'm really happy to see all of the people who came today. It is always good to show public witness for our respect for life. And to see a full courtroom it sends a message,”” she said. 

Among Wagner’s supporters was Linda Gibbons, who has spent many years behind bars for violating the bubble zone law. 

““In this case it is not just Mary Wagner on trial but rather a system which denies equality for all humans by unjustly killing the unborn,”” said Gibbons. 

John Bulsza, co-executor of the Mary Wagner Defence Fund, said having visible support in court makes a difference to the defendant.

“I’m glad that there are people here to support and she needs it,”” he said.

““I don't want her to be alone. There will be a day when more people will be doing what Mary is doing.”” 

Wagner said she needs to pray about her next step in the fight for life. 
““I'm going to go on a five-day retreat and pray about it and discern how best to respond,”” she said.

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