Mary Wagner: Canadian Pro-Life Hero Jailed for Opposing Abortion

International   |   Philip Ney   |   Mar 5, 2012   |   4:32PM   |   Washington, DC

Mary Wagner has been sentenced to imprisonment about 12 times. Being jailed is so relatively unimportant to her compared to standing in and standing up for preborn children, she hasn’t kept an accurate count.

Yet it is not pleasant being locked up. So on this last occasion she was happily praising God even though she is likely to again be convicted for breaching her probation order which bans her from being within 200 meters of the abortion “clinic” and trespass at the abortion “business”. Here is what made a significant difference.

Her lawyer, Russell Browne, put it this way. “It marks the first time in Canadian jurisprudence that the Duty to Warn has been defined”.

What does this mean? Duty to warn provides a reasonable defense for all those counselors, picketers, and vigilantes etc. who are attempting to acquaint women going into the “clinic” with the hazards and dangers of having an abortion. This is significant. So the three of us would like you to join in praising God who made it possible.

A few days before her trial I agreed to be a witness and suggested that we use “duty to warn” the women going to have an abortion as a defense. I had been an expert witness for Mary O’Niel in Dunedin, New Zealand, where the judge was persuaded that Mary was at the abortion ward in order to warn women of the dangers of abortion. He acquitted her. Mary Wagner quickly grasped the idea and so did her Godly and capable lawyer who used it to good effect. With adroit questioning of me in the witness box, he made it possible to mention Mary’s duty to warn the women.  By further questioning, the judge clarified the concept of duty to warn and now it is in the official transcript.

We all have a duty to warn a drunk staggering toward a cliff edge which if he went over, would likely result in severe injury or death. Cigarette packages have warnings of tobacco health hazards. Anyone who is selling a house must advise the prospective buyer of any known or suspected defect in the house. Mechanics have a duty to warn you that your brakes are badly worn, Doctors, in obtaining an informed consent, must warn patients of possible hazards to an operation. There are many other instances. The duty to warn stems from moral, civic, religious and scientifically determined convictions.

The judge accepted the argument. This does not mean he agrees with it. We must wait for his decision and pray it is just.

I informed the court that since I had trained Mary (Hope Alive level I post abuse and abortion counseling) she has good scientifically based knowledge of damages from abortion and thus a better than average ability to warn. Moreover her sensitive nature, contact with post abortion women in prison and devotion to God, put her into a higher level of obligation to warn. I mentioned to the judge that we insist all Hope Alive counselors put as much effort into preventing the problems of childhood mistreatment and abortion as they do in helping people recover from the harmful effects.

I also point out that from a medical viewpoint, the charge of trespassing a business holds only if that business is legitimate. In this case the medical “business” of aborting babies cannot be legal because: a) It is not proper medical practice; women are never given any alternative to abortion to “treat” a very wide range of problems, b) It is not conducted by a physician acting in good faith, (they don’t know the results of their procedure because they don’t do long term follow-up and they don’t keep up-to-date on the scientific literature etc. c) There are no scientifically established benefits to abortion, d) There are many harms and hazards. e) They don’t inform the patient fully and accurately so don’t obtain an informed consent, f) They don’t try less invasive and more reversible treatments first. Moreover, if it is, as they claim, a “business”, they cannot: charge the medical insurance scheme and taxpayers for costs, (large doctors fees etc) and they are using false advertising. In short this “business” only harms women and does so at taxpayer’s expense.

If a physician cuts a person or thrusts a curette into her uterus without medical justification, (there is none for abortion) it is tantamount to criminal assault. Only the most barbaric of nations (Nazi Germany) would legalize criminal behaviour.

Expert testimony was not allowed because it was not possible to give the other side sufficient notice. If there is an appeal and the Lord wills, it may be possible for a qualified person to more fully describe the long list of damages to women and families and provide scientific justification to warning women. In the meantime, keep praying for Mary and the others who are “Imprisoned For Life”. This would be an appropriate title for those who lose their liberty on behalf of preborn babies and their parents. Imprisoned For Life (IFL) could catch people’s attention and support.

Using “duty to warn” as a defense for counseling pre-abortion women, might encourage a wider variety of people to follow their conscience or scientifically determined convictions to protect women from harm and to defend innocent life. Let us pray they will. Note: Philip Ney graduated as a physician from the University of British Columbia, trained as a Child and Family Psychiatrist at McGill University and the University of London (England), and as a Developmental Psychologist at the University of Illinois.