By Susan Martinuk.  May 30, 2013.

As news circulated that Dr. Henry Morgentaler had died, a host of pro-abortion Canadians offered their tributes to the man who, by his own admission, had carried out more than 80,000 abortions.

An abortion rights group proclaimed him “a true Canadian hero,” while an NDP MP said he was a “champion for reproductive justice and women’s rights.” Others hailed his courage and convictions.

Here’s the irony. That same day, Canadians were mortified by a news story from China, where a newborn baby was found alive in a sewer pipe, two days after his unwed mother had flushed him down the toilet. China is well known for its barbaric one-child policy, so the unborn are typically viewed through a utilitarian, rather than human, perspective. Yet, people still wondered how a mother could be so callous.

But such brutal attitudes aren’t limited to China. Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the acquittal of a woman charged with abandoning a child. She had given birth in a Walmart washroom, then left the child in a toilet to die.

Last month, a woman called a Montreal talk show to state she had undergone five abortions; the most recent had been at 26 weeks gestation. There were no medical issues, and she had no particular reason for the abortions — they were apparently her preferred method of birth control.

This is the kind of “reproductive justice” that is Morgentaler’s legacy.

The unborn are expendable. They can be aborted at any time of gestation, as long as you can find a willing doctor. Babies who are mistakenly born alive can be left to die, or hurried to death by snipping the spinal cord or poking sharp scissors into the brain.

This moral indifference to the humanity of the unborn is now so entrenched in our society, that we are now extending it to the newly born. Thank you, Henry Morgentaler.

For this, he received the Order of Canada, our country’s highest honour. Many Canadians were outraged, yet Morgentaler offered the following, “If I should die tomorrow, I could say I have accomplished something with my life. The fact that some people are opposed to abortion on religious grounds doesn’t bother me as long as they are not allowed to influence other people by force or by other means.”

Beyond Morgentaler’s marvelling at his accomplishments, this statement reveals that he was out of touch with current realities related to abortion. He made wrong assumptions about three key issues, and these assumptions continue to dominate and derail abortion conversations in Canada.

His first wrong assumption was that “some” people are opposed to abortion, thereby suggesting that the majority of Canadians are not. Frankly, there is no consensus on support for abortion or for our laissez-faire approach to its regulation.

Some polls even suggest that more Canadians support abortion restrictions than don’t. A 2011 Environics poll showed 92 per cent of Canadians want sex-selective abortions banned. A 2013 Angus Reid poll showed that just 35 per cent of Canadians support the status quo (abortion without any restrictions). That means 65 per cent of Canadians want change.

The 2013 poll also revealed a disconcerting situation that has been noted previously. That is, most Canadians don’t know what the status quo is. Many Canadians (45 per cent) are under the mistaken belief that abortions can only occur during the first trimester. Only 23 per cent are aware that abortions can be legally obtained at any time during gestation.

From this, one can reasonably conclude that support for at least some restrictions on abortion would be even higher if Canadians were properly informed.

Morgentaler’s second wrong assumption was “the fact” that people oppose abortion strictly on “religious grounds.” This reflects a decades-old attitude and suggests Morgentaler knew little about medical advances in understanding human development.

Years ago, doctors relied on vivisection to evaluate stages of fetal development. Now, doctors perform complex surgeries on the unborn, in utero. 4-D ultrasounds show colour images of the unborn child’s face, revealing constantly changing facial expressions. Even 2-D ultrasound shows fingers, toes, thumb sucking, and a response to stimuli and familiar voices. All of this, added to the sound of a beating heart, increasingly demonstrates the humanity of the unborn.

A 24-week fetus is viable if born prematurely; so how can an aborted 24-week fetus be any less human?

Morgentaler’s third wrong assumption was that those who oppose abortion shouldn’t be allowed “to influence other people by force or by other means.” In other words, society’s right to freedom of expression must be suppressed.

“Force” can never be condoned and should never be used. Yet pro-abortion advocates often choose to use the idea that “pro-life equals violence” as a veiled excuse to shut down public debate, pro-life speakers and campus pro-life clubs.

Morgentaler’s gone and it’s time for a new era in discussing abortion. He wanted silence, and it has produced a country that doesn’t even know the legalities of when abortion can take place. Contrary to his beliefs, Canadians should be sufficiently grown-up to talk to each other and express facts and dissenting views that (horrors!) might have the potential to influence others.

Source: The Calgary Herald