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Catholic Vancouver April 25, 2019

Mary Wagner jailed just before Easter  

By Agnieszka Ruck

Mary Wagner meets Archbishop J. Michael Miller in November of 2018. (Agnieszka Ruck photo)

Pro-life activist Mary Wagner knew there was a high chance she'd be thrown in prison when she set out for Everywoman’s Health Centre in Vancouver April 17.

“She expected to be arrested that morning,” said Mildred Moy, a longtime friend of Wagner.

Wagner has become internationally known as the pro-lifer who enters Canadian abortion clinics to hand out roses and talk to women waiting for the procedure, hoping to change some minds and save some unborn lives. She does this despite the risk of arrest for violating various “bubble zone” laws and probation conditions, and has served several years of the last decade behind bars.

Wagner had been a free woman since about November (after serving a seven-and-a-half-month sentence in Ontario) before this latest arrest.

She invited Moy, and a small handful of other supporters, to pray for her outside the clinic that day. 

“When she told me her plans on the phone, I started tearing up already. I said: ‘Do you want me to see you being arrested?’”

Moy guessed Wagner spent about an hour inside the clinic and managed to give away a few roses before police arrived. Then, “Mary refused to leave because she has committed herself to be with those who are voiceless.”

When police realized Wagner wouldn't leave of her own accord, they carried her out by her arms and legs. Moy said she couldn't stop the tears as she watched her friend carried into a waiting police vehicle. She captured it on video.

Wagner is now at the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women in Maple Ridge, where she’ll stay at least until her first hearing May 1.

She is often asked why she continues entering abortion clinics when she’s aware the action will likely trigger another arrest.

“This question forgets something: the children scheduled to be killed will have no one to stand up for them,” Wagner told The B.C. Catholic just before Christmas.

She added then that she sees value in reaching out behind bars as well; an estimated 85 per cent of the women she meets in prison have had abortions, and most have said they regret them.

“Being back in custody is not usually an easy thing, but there is something beautiful about being close to those who are broken,” she said last year.

Moy said those who wish to contact Wagner can do so by addressing letters to Mary Wagner at the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women, PO Box 1000, Maple Ridge, B.C., V2X 7G4.