Skip to comments.Henry Morgentaler, Abortion Crusader, Dead at 90
Posted on 05/29/2013 4:21:44 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Henry Morgentaler, abortion crusader, dead at 90 Doctor opened first abortion clinic in Canada in Montreal in 1970, followed by more clinics across the country.
Henry Morgentaler, hated and loved in equal measure across Canada for four decades, died this morning, an abortion activist was told by the family. He was 90. Carolyn Egan, with the Ontario Coalition of Abortion Clinics, told Canadian Press she spoke with members of Morgentaler's family, who told her he died early this morning. She was told he was surrounded by family and it was a peaceful death at his Toronto home. Photos View gallery zoom zoom zoom Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne released the following statement on the death of Morgentaler: Our country has lost a man of great courage, conviction and personal bravery. Due in large part to his efforts and advocacy, women in Ontario and across Canada have the right to control their reproductive choices. Although the path he chose was not easy, he dedicated himself to ensuring that women had access to safe medical abortions. His contributions to a fair society have been felt around the globe, and my thoughts are with his friends and family at this time. Morgentaler was born in Poland and emigrated to Canada in 1950 after surviving the Holocaust. He received his medical degree from the University of Montreal and started his practice there. He opened the first abortion clinic in Canada in Montreal in 1970, followed by more clinics across the country. At his death, there were six Morgentaler Clinics across Canada. He was arrested and thrown in a Montreal prison in 1975 for 10 months for performing illegal abortions after the Quebec Court of Appeal overturned a jury acquittal.
The Stars Chantal Hebert wrote two years ago: A bit more than three decades ago, the ordinary men and women who made up a Quebec jury opened the way to unrestricted access to abortion in Canada when they refused to find Dr. Henry Morgentaler guilty of a crime for performing the procedure on demand. The Quebec government of the day was appalled by the verdict but eventually it had no choice but to relent and stop prosecuting abortion-related cases. More than a decade before the federal abortion law was struck down by the Supreme Court, it became inoperative in Quebec.
In 1983, Morgentaler was charged and acquitted in Ontario. The Ontario Court of Appeal reversed the decision, opening the way for the Supreme Court decision.
The revolution he created in Canadian law was profound. Each of his clinics became the target of protest rallies by pro-life activists. Morgentaler fought legal battle after legal battle until Jan. 28, 1988, when the Supreme Court struck down Canada's abortion law as unconstitutional.
By a 5-to-2 vote, Canada's highest court struck down Section 251 of the Criminal Code as unconstitutional.
The right to liberty contained in (Section 7 of the Charter of Rights) guarantees to every individual a degree of personal autonomy over important decisions intimately affecting his or her private life, Madam Justice Bertha Wilson wrote.
In an interview with The Canadian Press in 2004, Morgentaler said his five-year stay in the Nazi concentration camps of Auschwitz and Dachau prepared him for his showdown with Canada's legal system.
The protests didnt end with the Supreme Court decision. In 1992, Morgentalers Harbord St. clinic in Toronto was firebombed, causing the front of the building to collapse.
That clinic had opened in 1983 because of the efforts of Carolyn Egan and other activists, the first Morgentaler Clinic spokewoman and womens rights activist Judy Rebick wrote in January. The birth control workers realized that while white middle class women with connections had access to abortion under the 1969 law, poor women, immigrant women, rural women, young women, couldn't get access, Rebick wrote.
Even in Toronto, appointments for the limited hospital abortions were the luck of the draw.
Morgentaler operated abortion clinics in Fredericton in the 1990s, when abortion providers in the U.S. and Canada were increasingly the target of attacks.
If I have to become a martyr for the cause, so be it, he told Canadian Press in 1998.
I do not choose to be a martyr. I'd rather work for the cause and I've done things I'm proud of. I've established eight clinics which are going to be my legacy to Canada.
I think I've contributed to a change of public opinion in Canada. If I had to die tomorrow by an assassin's bullet at least I've achieved something in life.
There had been four sniper attacks on abortion providers in North America between 1994 and 1998.
The doctors involved in three attacks in Canada survived but Dr. Barnett Slepian had been killed at his home near Buffalo, N.Y., the month before Morgentaler opened the New Brunswick clinic. Morgentaler was named to the Order of Canada in 2008, a move that like everything he did was not without controversy.
Former Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour, who received her Order of Canada at the same time, defended him: I think he represents values that Canadians should be happy to celebrate: courage, passion, dedication, personal service to a cause that obviously has been a controversial one.
Several Order of Canada recipients turned their honour in because of his award, but three out of five Canadians said at the time they supported the decision.
Morgentaler himself said at the time that he deserved the Order of Canada, if I say so myself.
He said he was proud of the landmark 1988 Supreme Court of Canada decision he fought for that made abortion legal. Canada became the only Western democracy with no criminal sanctions against the procedure at that time.
Now in this country, women are not in danger (when) having an abortion, said a smiling Morgentaler.
Women no longer die as a result of abortion. Women no longer get cut up or damaged as a result of abortion. Women no longer lose their fertility because of abortion.
The fight for abortion rights is not over, he said in 2009. In 2008, he had sued the province of New Brunswick for restricting public funding for abortions to those approved by two doctors and performed by a gynecologist.
He’s with he devil now. Hope he enjoys it.
Rot in hell Morgentaler. Today is a good day. I’m going to celebrate.
Wait, Im supposed to say something nice...something nice..nah, cant think of anything..say HI to the devil you piece of sh*t
The Toronto Red Star article neglected to mention that the Supreme Court of Canada left the door open to Parliament to pass a different abortion law. Canada remains the only western nation without any laws regulating abortion.
How does one pick abortion as a profession after med school? I thought you went into medicine to save lives? Oh we’ll......may he rot in hell.
90 years is a long time. Eternity is longer.
Burn baby burn! - Disco inferno!
Earth to Henry: Say hello to Tamerlan “Speed Bump” Tsarnaev.
Somebody please tell me that the cause of death was a pair of scissors having been thrust into his skull...repeatedly.
Hey,who knows? He might just be sharing a suite today with Der Fuhrer himself.Wouldn't *that* be a hoot!
A great evil has passed from the world and has gone to join his master. Unfortunately, many other evils are eager to take his place.
I always wonder why monsters like this harbor such profound hatred for women and infants. Are they born with the hate in their hearts, or did events in their lives turn them into misogynists?
How does someone witness the horrific murders of innocent human life of the death camps, and then turn around and spend the rest of their lives doing the same thing or worse? This person was mentally ill.
Can't agree with ya there.IMO,when one is "mentally ill" he/she probably has some kind of neurophysiological disorder or perhaps a structural abnormality of the brain (birth defect,head trauma,etc).This guy was much worse than "mentally ill".He was a pure psychopath...either born without a conscience or his conscience was surgically removed early in life.
He survived the holocaust. He revenged himself on the helpless and the innocent.
His parents must have been proud. This is our son, he’s an abortionist.
Remember Jesus' parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16)? If only someone could have told this man of the consequences of his actions...
... oh, wait, they did! And... he "had Moses and the Prophets".
WOW! This is like a Twilight Zone episode. How bizarre! Like an abused child that murders his family.