A Canadian woman who frequently has risked arrest to help unborn babies and moms inside abortion facilities was given probation rather than jail time Tuesday after thousands of people sent messages supporting her to the court.
Christian News Net reports Mary Wagner, 43, a pro-life advocate and Roman Catholic, was arrested in December for refusing to leave the Bloor West Village Women’s Center, an abortion clinic in Toronto. Wagner was handing out pamphlets and roses to women in the waiting room at the time of her arrest.
On Tuesday, Justice Rick Libman of the Ontario Court of Justice acknowledged that Wagner was reaching out “in love” when she was arrested, according to the report. And though prosecutors recommended that Wagner serve 18 months in prison, Libman sentenced her to 30 months of probation and 50 hours of community service instead.
She was found guilty on counts of mischief and breach of probation.
Here’s more from the report:
As part of her bail conditions, Wagner was ordered to say at least 300 feet away from abortion facilities for the next three years. She refused and served six months behind bars, being released during her trial in June under the condition that she return for the rest of the hearings.
Crown prosecutors requested that she be sentenced to another 18 months in jail as a deterrent, but Libman delayed sentencing to give Wagner time to present her viewpoint.
The answer came in the form of thousands of letters, emails and petition signatures supporting Wagner and her work saving unborn babies and moms from abortion.
Jim Hughes, president of the Campaign Life Coalition and the vice president of the International Right to Life Federation, said Wagner received “more than 850 reference letters, 34,000 emails and 67,000 petition signatures in support of her character and unborn children” in less than a month.
One letter in particular was very special. It came from a woman who decided not to abort her unborn baby after talking with Wagner. According to the report, Wagner read the woman’s letter during her sentencing hearing. In it, the woman said she felt “hopeless and helpless” when she arrived at the abortion facility; but Wagner showed her “lots of love” and encouraged her to choose life for her child.
“If I had obeyed the law, that child would not be alive today,” Wagner told the court.
Wagner was arrested after a similar incident in 2012. After refusing to leave the waiting room of a Toronto abortion clinic, Wagner spent time in jail on charges of mischief and breach of probation. At that point in time, she already had been arrested six times and spent three years in prison.