TORONTO, March 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-life prisoner of conscience Mary Wagner walked free Wednesday after three months in jail even though her trial on charges of mischief and breach of probation isn’t over.
Justice Neil Kozloff signalled he was open to releasing Wagner when it became clear the proceedings would carry over to a third day.
Wagner refuses to sign bail conditions requiring her to stay away from abortion centers, which Kozloff noted when pointing to the difficulty of booking an early court date to finish the trial.
“I’m going to address the elephant in the room,” he told Wagner’s lawyer Peter Boushy and Crown attorney Kasia Batorska.
“I don’t want her kept in custody for the convenience of the Court.”
Boushy suggested Wagner be released without conditions, pointing out she is already under two probation orders forbidding her to go near abortion centers in Ontario, and there is provincial legislation establishing zones outside of abortion facility.
Kozloff and Batorska both agreed Wagner could go free on the sole condition she keep the peace and be of good behaviour.
Wagner, 44, will return for the last day of her trial on April 26.
Boushy thanked the judge on behalf of Wagner and her 25 or so supporters, who were packed into a courtroom so small several had to stand.
Wagner has pleaded not guilty to one charge of mischief and two of breach of probation. These arose from her December 8, 2017, arrest at the Women’s Care Clinic, located on the 5th floor of a medical building at 960 Lawrence Avenue West.
She and a companion entered the abortion center carrying red roses and pro-life literature and attempted to persuade women in the waiting room to choose life for their unborn children.
“I think it’s really significant that today is the feast of Felicity and Perpetua,” a clearly elated Wagner told her supporters outside the courthouse after her release.
“Felicity and Perpetua were martyred in the year 204, with Felicity in her 8th month of pregnancy. So I think that little baby was interceding for us today.”
Julia Haag, a longtime sidewalk counsellor arrested in a Red Rose Rescue in Washington D.C. in December, was one of three Americans, including a Catholic priest, who drove up from Washington to attend the trial.
“I’m really happy and feel blessed to be able to spend some time with her,” said Haag, who goes to trial in June.
“I believe she’s a beautiful role model. If everyone had the passion for children and ending abortion, and if every Catholic prayed and acted with such conviction, [abortion] would be over.”
Abortion center owner grilled on legality of business
Much of the trial’s second day was taken up with Miroslav “Mike” Markovic, the owner of the Women’s Care Clinic, testifying on the abortion center’s operations.
Wagner is charged with mischief, which is defined as the interference with the lawful operation of a business, and her lawyer Boushy told the Court an essential ingredient of the case was to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the abortion center was a lawful operation.
Markovic testified he is the director and majority shareholder of the Women’s Care Clinic Limited, a management company incorporated in Ontario in 1996. He is paid by the clinic’s two abortionists, his wife Saira Markovic, a general practitioner, and Rosa Magalios, an obstetrician gynecologist.
The abortion center also employs five nurses and “three or four support staff.”
Markovic said the Ontario government licensed one Ottawa and four Toronto abortion facilities, one of which has since closed, under the Independent Health Facilities Act in the early nineties so abortion centers could get facility funding from the ministry of health.
The Women’s Care Clinic applied for a license but was turned down because the government thought four Toronto abortion centres was sufficient, Markovic testified.
The ministry has since stopped licensing abortion facilities “because they did not want to provide funding,” he told the Court.
His abortion facility is registered as an “out-of-hospital premise,” a category established in 2010 by the government and the College of Physicians and Surgeons “in order to cover all procedures that are done with anesthesia outside hospitals,” Markovic testified.
Questions on $60 abortion center fee
When Boushy began intensely quizzing Markovic over the $60 fee the Women’s Care Clinic charges its clients, the judge repeatedly questioned the relevance, finally saying he would “bear with” Boushy no further.
Boushy then asked Markovic to leave the courtroom so he could explain his rationale to the judge, adding sharply that he was trying to defend Wagner, who “is entitled to a fair trial.”
“Mr. Boushy, don’t lecture me on what she is entitled to,” snapped Kozloff, whereupon Boushy shot back that the judge had “interfered with my cross-examination…you have sir, yes, you have.”
He then told the Court he had a Ministry of Health email statement advising him abortion centers are not required to be licensed under the Independent Health Facilities Act.
However, the ministry also stated that “abortion services are insured services. As such, a patient acquiring abortion services from a clinic cannot be charged for anything related to the abortion service or the abortion service itself. Such payments are considered as illegal facility fees under the Independent Health Facilities Act (IHFA).”
Boushy asserted the Women’s Care Clinic is governed by the IHFA insofar as it cannot charge illegal fees, and that he was attempting to establish whether the $60 fee was illegal.
Pre-abortion counselling separate from abortion?
When Markovic returned to the courtroom, he testified that the $60 covered uninsured services, and that the abortion facility waived the fee for women who couldn’t pay. But he couldn’t say for what percentage of patients the fee was waived.
When pressed by Boushy and Kozloff to specify the uninsured services, Markovic listed “the work that the nurses do,” a hotline, “birth control counselling”, “free birth control”, letters for employers and pre-abortion counselling.
When Boushy questioned him about pre-abortion counselling, Markovic insisted it was “completely separate from the abortion procedure” and done not by the abortionists but by nurses.
Patients had occasionally complained to the ministry about the fee and the ministry had ruled “it was okay,” he told the Court.
The Crown asked Markovic to submit copies of the letters between his abortion facility and the Ministry of Health “with respect to fees,” as well as a copy of the Women Care Clinic’s incorporation papers.
The trial resumes April 26 at 9:30, Room 310, Ontario Court of Justice, 1000 Finch West.
Dear Marchers for Life’: an open letter from jailed pro-life activist Mary Wagner
Note: Mary Wagner is currently serving a 10-month prison sentence for attempting to counsel women seeking abortions at Toronto’s Bloor West Village Women’s Clinic. In total, Wagner has spent some four years in jail for her peaceful pro-life activities. This letter is addressed to Dear Jim Hughes & Friends, organizers of the March for Life and all who have come out to participate:
I’d like to thank you for dedicating this year’s March for Life to Linda Gibbons and me. We appreciate the public support you are giving to our efforts to love children and their mothers when and where they are most abandoned. It is not about getting arrested or not getting arrested. It is not about us, but about that poor mother and her utterly helpless child about to be killed, who are owed all the love and protection their neighbours are able to give them.
Linda has shared publicly that one of the steps that led her to be present where the babies are killed was the awakening that, though a child belongs to their parents, the child belongs to God first. This insight helps us to understand that each child must be loved, welcomed and protected because life is from God and for God.
We are entrusted with children as a family but also as a society and we are responsible for them before God. If we are Christians we know that the Commandment to love is not limited to our family, and therefore we must extend our love to others, especially to the most neglected and abandoned.
We all know people who have not hesitated to put their sick child or loved ones at the centre of their care and concern, spending days, weeks, months, years, even a lifetime at their bedside, sacrificing everything for their loved one. Very few of these people will ever be found in the news or praised for their selflessness. In fact, most people who have done this would find such praise strange, because their love for the person in their care is so strong they do not see first and foremost the sacrifices they have made. They are thinking only of what is best for their loved one.
Those little ones whose parents have forgotten them are waiting for an unofficial adoption by followers of Christ (through whom we have all received adoption by our Heavenly Father). How many mothers and children are going to these places of death today, even in this city, with no one there to love them? How many sick and elderly people are abandoned, if not killed in their vulnerability?
Dear Marchers for Life, especially all young people present, let us consider the words of Mother Teresa: “I do not see crowds; I see only one person at a time, Jesus.” While the work of Mother Teresa and thousands of her sisters no doubt helps and continues to help combat the great injustice of poverty, fighting poverty was not the goal of this saint. It was to quench the thirst of Christ – this thirst to love and be loved – present in each core person. There is no opposition between the work of Mother Teresa and the legitimate initiatives to stop poverty. In the same way, there is no opposition between those who seek to love the unique people whether born or unborn who are victims of the death culture and the many initiatives to uphold the sanctity of life.
If we are Christians, then we are called to be what a good friend calls Gospel of Life People, not simply pro-life: We have faith in Christ and in the Gospel and this faith is the greatest treasure because it leads to Love. We know that the struggle, which gathers us together today, is not just about human rights – although human rights are exceedingly important! The struggle is ultimately in building what Saint John Paul II called a Civilization of Life and Love, and it begins within each one of us. If we want to see the culture of life flourish we would do well to listen to the wise words of Mahatma Gandhi: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
– Do I see that I too am, in some way, a part of the darkness of the culture of death?
– Am I willing to admit that I need to change?
– Do I believe that growth in personal holiness is essential for the flourishing of this civilization of Life and Love?
– Do I know how important it is to pray?
– Do I seek God’s Kingdom, His way first, trusting that He will take care of everything else?
“But seek first his kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well” (Matt 6:33). These words of Jesus bring us back to the mother and her unborn child. She may be in very difficult circumstances and tempted to forget the priority of God’s way: to protect His Little Ones. Are we who urge her to do what is right and good, to welcome her baby and to trust all will work out well, willing to make sacrifices ourselves to help her and her child? Will we be there for them?
Many here today are there for these mothers and babies; praise God! Still, there are many mothers who end up at these places where their children are brutally killed. Let us think of these mother and babies, pray for them, and as much as possible be there for them, as we would be there for our own children, mother, father, sister, brother, or friend. We do not need to have loving feelings before we choose to act for the good of another.
All we need is to listen to Jesus who says: “Love one another as I have loved you…Whatever you have done for the least of my brothers you did it to me…In the world you will have trouble, but take courage I have overcome the world…I will send you the Holy Spirit, who will lead you to the fullness of truth…Do not be afraid…I am with you always!”
I would like to thank as well everyone who has written to both of us in jail and who have expressed support in various ways, especially through your prayers.
God bless you!
WASHINGTON, D.C., January 29, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Jailed Canadian pro-life heroine Mary Wagner and Chicago-based pro-life lawyer Thomas Brejcha received the Law of Life Achievement Award at the annual Law of Life Summit last week in Washington, D.C, one day prior to the January 22 March for Life.
The annual award, given to those who have made enormous sacrifices for the pro-life movement, is a framed replica of the nail used to hold the feet of Christ to the cross.
Mary Wagner, who is currently in jail for entering a Toronto abortion clinic in December to peacefully minister to abortion-bound women, received the award for her selfless and heroic witness to life.
“[Mary] is a young beautiful woman who has taken it upon herself to go right into the abortuaries, to sit in the waiting rooms and calmly, prayerfully, and peacefully tell the women — on the inside — ‘You don’t have to do this. We have help for you,’” said LifeSiteNews editor-in-chief John-Henry Westen, who accepted the award on Wagner’s behalf.
“[For this,] she is yelled at, screamed at, and jailed.”
“She is a hero for life,” he said.
These are Polish protesters outside of the Canadian embassy in Warsaw in defense of Mary Wagner. There will be more protests in other European countries in solidarity with Mary Wagner and her desire to help pregnant mothers and their preborn children.
Mary was charged with mischief: interference with lawful enjoyment/operation of a business, and breach of court order, as a result of her peaceful, prayerful outreach to pregnant mothers who, with their children were threatened by abortion at a Toronto abortion facility. She came to Toronto from British Columbia in 2010 to be in solidarity with Canadian pro-life heroine Linda Gibbons. Linda has sacrificed 10.5 years of her life in prison since September 1994 and Mary has given 2.6 years of prison life since March 2010; both for the defense of unborn children. She wrote a letter of gratitude to her supporters which was published in Life Site News:
Justice Fergus O’Donnell of the Ontario Court of Justice rejected every application made by the defense–including for access to abortion centre records, public funding, standing for a constitutional challenge and for expert witnesses to be heard–before he found Wagner guilty and sentenced her to five months in jail . He further levied two years of probation, with terms that she stay at least 100 metres away from any abortion site. However, because Mary had spent a greater time in jail than the sentence, she was freed immediately.
One of Mary’s several defenses will argue section 37 of the Criminal Code of Canada that states: ” Everyone is justified in using force to defend himself or any one under his protection from assault…”
Mary’s argument will contend that “any one” includes unborn children and that, by her presence and outreach, she peacefully acted in self-defense of those children. Section 37 has recently been repealed but Section 37 was in force at the time Mary was arrested, and she is entitled to rely on the self-defense of others. Mary contends that “others” includes all human beings, including those not yet born. If the court agrees with her, then the next decision is whether section 223 of the Criminal Code is unconstitutional, because it excludes from the definition of human being any human being (child) that is not yet born alive. If Mary wins on both these points, any one of us can place an unborn child under protection and use proportional force to stop an abortion, which is admitted by the state to be a fatal assault upon a human being. (excerpt taken from Dr. Charles Lugosi, Mary’s lawyer)
Mary uses roses, conversation and literature in a peaceful, non-violent and respectful manner to try to stop an imminent fatal assault upon unborn human beings by placing fetuses who are about to die under her protection..Mary Wagner resists any attempt by Parliament to decide when a biological human being is not a legal human being. Science teaches us that a new human being comes into existence at the moment of conception and this new living being is in a state of constant change over time until death.
Mary’s goal is to persuade the trial judge that fetuses are human beings in an unborn state, and that the legal definition of human being in the Criminal Code of Canada is unconstitutional.
** It has been 24 years since the personhood and right to life of unborn children have been before the Supreme Court of Canada in the constitutional challenge of Borowski v. Canada. (1989)
Mary is known in Poland and even was the subject of a cover page in one of the magazines. See also, a letter written by one of our members, Andrzej Spiewak of Our Lady of Czestochowa Church in London, Ontario.