Dr. Henry Morgentaler is no longer with us. And we are left with a very different Canada than what he immigrated to in 1950. No one else will ever be able to claim that they personally ended the lives of more than 100,000 preborn children, had a big role in legalizing abortion, and then championed a court case that struck all of Canada’s remaining abortion laws down. Thanks largely to his efforts, Canada has the fewest restrictions on abortion in the entire world, tied only with communist North Korea. Women in this country can have an abortion at 41 weeks if they so desire, for any reasons at all, and paid for by tax payers. These are the facts. This is the nation that Morgentaler left behind.
But what will Canada post-Morgentaler look like? Canada has felt the effects of abortion-on-demand for over a quarter century now. But instead of growing acceptance, the matter is no less divisive than it was in 1969 or 1988. Although the rhetoric of choice tries to paint a picture of freedom and celebration, Canadians can’t deny the real pain and brokenness that has resulted from over a quarter of our generation being eliminated before they could take their first breath. It’s the same contradiction that we see in Morgantaler’s life. Although he claimed to be an emancipator, he left a legacy of sexual exploitation of women while making millions of dollars from their “choices”.
The winds of change are blowing.
Polls show that over 90% of Canadians are not aware that there are no restrictions on abortion. And when they are made aware, a strong majority consistently supports restrictions, at various stages in a pregnancy. Although abortion activists try hard to twist this, the fact remains that our lack of abortion laws are not consistent with where most Canadians stand, even after 25 years. And although we commonly hear about a so-called “woman’s right to choose” the Supreme Court made it very clear that there is no such right. They looked to Parliament to come up with laws protecting the preborn. Twenty-five years later and we are still waiting.
Throughout 2012 and thus far in 2013 we have witnessed an escalating debate about the place of the pre-born in Canadian law. The pro-life voice has become younger and stronger. Members of Parliament are becoming more brazen in their defence of the pre-born. The public consciousness is waking up to the reality that Canada is far more radical than its European counterparts. Even China, which is well-known for its human rights violations, publicly condemns gendercide, something that Canada’s Parliament was unwilling to do this year.
Morgentaler left a legacy that we can’t deny. But we don’t have to celebrate it or build on it. We can work together to create a society that celebrates and nurtures life and that provides women with help and healing.
Mark Penninga is the Executive Director of the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Canada www.ARPACanada.ca