To draw attention to the safety and efficacy of clinical abortions, Morgentaler in 1973 publicized the fact that he had successfully carried out over 5000 abortions. When a jury nevertheless found him not guilty of violating article 251 of the Criminal Code, the Québec Court of Appeal (in Feb 1974), in an unprecedented action, quashed the jury finding and ordered Morgentaler imprisoned. Though this ruling was upheld by the Supreme Court, a second jury acquittal led Ron Basford, minister of justice, to have a Criminal Code amendment passed, taking away the power of appellate judges to strike down acquittals and order imprisonments. After a third jury trial led to yet another acquittal, all further charges were dropped.
In Nov 1984 Morgentaler and 2 associates were acquitted of conspiring to procure a miscarriage at their Toronto clinic. The Ontario government appealed the acquittal; the accused appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, which struck down the law in early 1988 on the basis that it conflicted with rights guaranteed in the Charter.
Morgentaler's campaign has taken him across Canada on speaking engagements and fund-raising tours to promote family planning. He also established clinics across the country to provide abortion services and to test federal and provincial law. Morgentaler has taken some provincial governments to court over the closure of his clinics in those provinces. Morgentaler's actions have focused attention on legal procedures as well as on the broader issues of abortion.
Author ANGUS MCLAREN
Links to Other Sites
Abortion crusader Henry Morgentaler dead at 90
An obituary for pro-abortion crusader Dr. Henry Morgentaler from the National Post.
Abortion activist Dr. Henry Morgentaler dies
A CBC News obituary for Dr. Henry Morgentaler, controversial Canadian abortion crusader.
Governor General's appointments to the Order of Canada
Scroll down the page and click on the links to brief biographical notes of recent appointees to the Order of Canada. Click on "Find a Recipient" on the left side of the page to find previous recipients. From the website for the Governor General of Canada.
Abortion rights: A timeline of developments
A CBC chronology of major events and issues related to the practice of abortion in Canada.
Dr. Henry Morgentaler: Fighting Canada's Abortion Laws
A series of CBC news stories about Dr. Henry Morgentaler, a Montreal family physician who became a vocal advocate for the right of Canadian women to have abortion on demand.
R. v. Morgentaler
An overview of the 1988 Supreme Court of Canada 5-2 decision in R. v. Morgentaler that struck down the abortion provision of the Criminal Code. From the Centre for Constitutional Studies, University of Alberta.
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