Canadians should not forget one reason why we are living in a country that allows the wholescale killing of innocent human beings. At the present time there are no legal controls or restrictions on abortion in Canada. This mirrors the abortion situation in the totalitarian countries of China, Cuba, and North Korea. Canada’s failure to regulate abortion is unique in the developed world. How did this happen?
One major reason for this despicable state of affairs was the deliberate suppression of information and facts during the critical period of time that abortionist Henry Morgentaler was challenging the abortion law in the courts. At that time, the media refused to report the truth about Morgentaler, his motivation and his unsafe medical practice. Instead, the media and pro abortionists portrayed him, and continue to portray him, as a hero.
Although this occurred several generations ago, this situation remains relevant today. It reveals the enormous power and influence of the media to create and sustain a narrative that supports the abortion industry that has callously led to the death of millions of Canada’s future citizens.
Summary of Morgentaler’s Background
Born in Poland at a time when all unborn life was legally protected in the Western world, Morgentaler emigrated to Canada in 1950. He claimed he had been an inmate at Auschwitz and Dachau, but he had no number tattooed on his arm, unlike all other inmates of Nazi concentration camps. He applied to medical school at the University of Montreal claiming that all his academic documents had been lost in the turmoil of the war. He was admitted to the faculty of medicine on compassionate grounds. Morgentaler graduated the last in his class. Morgentaler limited his practice in Montreal mostly to abortions. By 1988, he had performed 19,000 illegal abortions in his Montreal clinic and was determined to expand his lucrative business across the country. Based on his fee schedule and appointment numbers in the 1980s it is estimated that Morgentaler’s income from 17 daily abortions at $225 each was $3,825. This has a daily value of $9,516 in 2023 when adjusted for inflation. After the abortion law was struck down by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1988, Morgentaler opened eight abortion clinics across Canada.
In 1989 Morgentaler was honoured by Planned Parenthood Federation, in tribute to its founder, racist and eugenicist Margaret Sanger. On October 10, 2008, feminist Governor-General Michaëlle Jean pinned the Order of Canada on his chest in a ceremony in Quebec City. The Governor General’s website praised him for “his commitment to increased health care options for women.” The Globe and Mail reported on May 29, 2013 at the time of Morgentaler’s death, that Morgentaler did not feel satisfied with his life even though, as he put it, he had “the wife, the mistress, the son, the daughter and house”. It described him as a ”consummate philanderer who married three times and conducted many extramarital affairs”.
Media As An Accomplice
The media was Morgentaler’s accomplice during his court trials. In effect, Morgentaler and his defense counsel were enabled by the media to use his legal challenge of the abortion law as a showpiece and propaganda tool to promote the abortion cause and to gain public sympathy. The media provided much publicity promoting Morgentaler, with minimal opposition to the narrative being established. Those opposed to Morgentaler’s behavior were promoting “hatred” according to the Globe and Mail (May 29, 2013), and described Morgentaler’s work as helping desperate women to “get rid of unwanted fetuses”.
The media’s support of Morgentaler was referred to by Judge Hugessen at Morgentaler’s Sentencing Hearing on July 25, 1974 as follows:
I do not believe that it is going too far to say that the accused never misses an opportunity to make use of the press or the other informational media to proclaim that he performs abortions on demand and that if the law does not presently permit him to do so it is the law that should change and not the accused.
Morgentaler’s Legal Quagmire to Overturn the Abortion Law
Throughout the course of his sordid life, Morgentaler had numerous occasions to interact with the legal system in cases ranging from professional misconduct, to malpractice lawsuits, to tax evasion, to criminal convictions in his quest to overturn Canada’s abortion law. Morgentaler was first charged in 1970 for conspiracy to commit abortion and procuring abortion.Those charges, however, went down the proverbial rabbit hole of proceduralwrangling. On August 15, 1973, Morgentaler was arrested for performing an illegal abortion in Montreal. After a trial lasting from 18 October 1973 to 13 November 1973, a French-speaking jury of 11 men and one woman, after 11 hours of deliberation, returned a verdict of “not guilty.”
Jury Tampering During the Trial
During Morgentaler’s trial, newspapers in Quebec reported clear evidence of attempted jury tampering. This included: bribery; harassment; and intimidation of the jurors. The media outside Quebec, however, took little or no interest in attempts to undermine the most fundamental institution of democracy: the jury.
The Quebec Court of Appeal overturned the jury decision on the basis that the trial judge had erred in law by instructing the jury that Morgentaler had two defences available to the charge: the common law defence of necessity; and s. 45 Criminal Code which provided that it was not illegal to perform a surgical operation for a person’s benefit provided it was carried out with reasonable skill and care, in regard to the state of health of the patient and other circumstances. In coming to its conclusion, the Court of Appeal was of the view that, on the facts of the case, there was no evidence to support either defence.
Supreme Court of Canada and the Abortion Law
The decision of the Quebec Court of Appeal was appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, which, in the first of three Morgentaler cases to be fully argued before it, agreed with the Quebec Court of Appeal. In doing so, a majority of the Court held that the defenses of necessity and s. 45 were unavailable and confirmed the Court of Appeal’s decision. Also, the Supreme Court unanimously held that the Bill of Rights did not affect the constitutional validity of the abortion law contained in the abortion section of the Criminal Code.
Thirteen years later, this time in a case originating in Ontario, a majority of a different Supreme Court would use the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as an excuse to strike down the Criminal Code provisions dealing with abortion. The Supreme Court did so, despite a strong five-member panel of the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision which unanimously upheld the constitutionality of the therapeutic abortion regime. It is not without a sense of irony that the reasoning of Ontario’s Court of Appeal in Morgentaler would later be seen in, and accepted by, the United State Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in Roe v. Wade to overturn the constitutional right to abortion.
Morgentaler’s 1988 “victory” was based upon the questionable assumption that the therapeutic abortion regime contained in the Criminal Code violated women’s rights under s. 7 of the Charter which guarantees “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person”. In arriving at its conclusion, the majority of the court, conveniently ignored the “life, liberty and security of the person” of the child in the womb.
The Supreme Court did not provide a constitutional right to “abortion on demand.” Instead, the majority of judges who struck down the Criminal Code provisions urged Parliament to bring in a new abortion law compatible with the Charter. Even feminist judge, Bertha Wilson, recognized a valid and constitutionally acceptable limit on abortion where the state has a “compelling” reason to protect the child in utero as it becomes more “viable”.
Ten years later, on February the 6th, 1998, Chief Justice Antonio Lamer stated, in a speech at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, that the abortion law was overturned by the Supreme Court because Canadians wanted this change. How the Chief Justice reached this opinion is baffling but it was likely from the media’s distorted accounts of the abortion situation. Equally problematic was Lamer’s comment that “…unless you have a vast majority of people think something is criminal, you should not make it a crime.” Based on that logic, a vast majority of Canadians undoubtedly consider income tax rates of 50%+ to be a crime, and perhaps such income tax should be illegal.
Lamer’s statement overlooks the fact that the Criminal Code has a very important educative role in that it sets standards of minimal conduct. Without a law prohibiting, or at least regulating, abortion, generations of women that would not previously have considered abortion as a viable option, have obtained one since what is legal becomes permissible/socially acceptable to them. The result: human life is devalued and the unborn defenseless child is left totally without protection. Simply put, the value of the criminal law on abortion lies not in the number of convictions of abortionists that take place, but rather lies in reminding us of the importance and value of human life and the subsequent number of abortions that such laws prevent.
Morgentaler’s Unsafe Medical Practice
The media has propagated the myth of Morgentaler as a feminist hero, and has covered up the incompetency that underlies his contempt for women as individuals and as patients during his medical practice. In 1976, Morgentaler’s medical license was suspended for a year, by the Disciplinary Committee of the Quebec College of Medicine (No. 24-75-0001) on January 16, 1976, for his breach of the Code of Ethics and his failure to practice good medicine. The Committee further required that Morgentaler “undergo a refresher course before resumingpractice, because of his prior over-specialization.”
The Disciplinary Committee findings of fact included the following statement:
(Translation) … These factors reveal a medical practice which this committee cannot reconcile with the practice of good medicine. For all of these reasons, the committee must reprimand the defendant.
The factors that led to the Committee’s decision included evidence that Morgentaler re-used polyethylene “vacurettes” on patients, which had been used in previous abortions. According to the manufacturer, the vacurettes were purposely made disposable and sold in sterile form packages clearly marked “cannot be re-used”. According to medical authorities, the re-using of the unsterilized vacurettes by Morgentaler could lead to the transmission of such diseases as viral hepatitis, tetanus, venereal diseases, gaseous gangrene and Herpes. Morgentaler admitted he re-used the vacurettes. The price of the vacurettes at that time was $3.30.
Evidence was given during his 1973 trial that when he was advised by his patient, an indigent black foreign student, that she only had $80.00 cash, he required from her a post-dated cheque for $70.00 to cover the remaining fee of $150.00.
Further evidence at the trial disclosed that Morgentaler did not give the patient any medical check-up or any blood test prior to the abortion, and so could not be sure that the patient was pregnant.
The doctor-patient relationship consisted only of Morgentaler telling the patient the price of the abortion and asking her: (a) when her last period began; (b) if she had ever had an abortion before; and (c) if she had ever had abdominal surgery.
The woman assisting him in the operating room at the time of the 1973 arrest was not a registered nurse. Finally, Morgentaler did not provide adequate post-abortion care. After the abortion, the patient was sent to the recovery room and Morgentaler did not see her again, as the Disciplinary Committee of the Quebec College of Medicine stated in its report:
(Translation)…After performing his intervention, the defendant does not concern himself with obtaining a pathological examination of the tissues he has removed, nor does he follow up the state of health of his patients after having performed the operation.
Patients Sue Morgentaler for Malpractice
Morgentaler’s medical practice led to some of his patients launching legal actions against him. In most cases, Morgentaler avoided adverse publicity and legal costs by offering the complainants generous settlements on the condition they remain publicly silent about his medical incompetence. One of his former patients in Halifax, however, refused his settlement offer. In February 1998, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court found the Morgentaler Clinic in Halifax guilty of negligence in failing to provide a patient with adequate post-abortion care. Morgentaler was assessed $724,547.66 in damages.
Judicial Description Of Morgentaler’s Medical Practice
- Mr. JUSTICE CRETE (QUEBEC COURT OF APPEAL)
(Translation)…Morgentaler talked to the patient for about five minutes, during which time he only discussed the financial arrangements, the stage of pregnancy and whether it was a first pregnancy. It seemed equally clear that there was no question of a urine or blood test, nor of taking of the patient’s blood pressure, pulse or temperature.
- Mr. JUSTICE DICKSON (SUPREME COURT OF CANADA)
The appellant [Morgentaler] conceded that from 10 A.M. until noon on the day in question he had completed six abortions.
- Mr. JUSTICE PIGEON (SUPREME COURT OF CANADA)
The abortion was performed in the course of a “lucrative business”.
Money was Morgentaler’s Motivation
The courts, as well as Quebec’s medical regulator, all referred to money as Morgentaler’s motivation in performing illegal abortions. The Discipline Panel of the Quebec College of Medicine reported:
(Translation) An attitude which is primarily directed to protecting his fees. No really valid interview is held before proceeding with the abortion. This behaviour confers a mercenary character on the doctor-patient relationship. This committee is incapable of reconciling this behaviour with the humanitarian concern that the accused invoked throughout his defence.
Morgentaler engaged in the willful, sordid and dangerous practice of performing abortions. His motivation was money. The media engaged in a willful coverup of the truth surrounding Morgentaler and his practice. The media’s motivation was to establish a feminist/leftist narrative to widen the abortion law in Canada.
The media’s inherent bias in favour of the feminist/leftist narrative prevented it from asking serious questions that would have exposed Morgentaler and the evils of abortion.
We must conclude that the media, whether called “legacy” or “drive-by” or “mainstream” is corrupt. The development of the internet and social media in recent years however has reduced the mainstream media’s influence, as we witnessed when the mainstream media, at the instigation of the Trudeau government, attempted to discredit the Freedom Convoy, as well as many Canadians during the pandemic. Most Canadians did not accept the media’s interpretation of these events.
By and large, with a few exceptions, the mainstream media still fails to objectively report the news accurately, but rather distorts it to conform to and support the left wing agenda/narrative. Alternative media such as The Epoch Times, Rebel News, True North News, The Western Standard or LifesiteNews provide a much-needed counterbalance to the mainstream media’s opinions masquerading as “news”.
Canadians cannot trust the media in the past, today, or in the future. This is even more so now that we live in the age of “government funded” media. If the media is to play its part in a vibrant democracy it must be held accountable for its decisions which is not happening now.