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Abortion controversy heats up for Morgentaler

The Story

In 1969 Dr. Henry Morgentaler gives up his family practice and decides to perform abortions full time. He defies the law and opens the country's first abortion clinic in east-end Montreal. He says he began performing the procedure when more and more women heard about his outspoken support for abortion on demand and came to his family practice seeking an abortion. Morgentaler maintains Canada's new abortion law is too restrictive because it is applied unevenly and unfairly across the country. Hospital abortion services are mainly available to women in large cities. Other Canadians feel that allowing even limited access to abortion ignores the "rights of the unborn child." On June 1, 1970, Morgentaler is arrested and charged with intent to procure an abortion.

Medium: Radio
Program: Double Take
Broadcast Date: June 23, 1970
Guest(s): Henry Morgentaler
Duration: 5:57

Did You know?

• In 1869, abortion became a crime in Canada punishable by life in prison.
• Before the use of contraceptives was legalized in Canada in 1969, Dr. Henry Morgentaler was one of the first Canadian physicians to perform vasectomies, insert IUDs and provide contraceptive pills to women.


Dr. Henry Morgentaler: Fighting Canada's Abortion Laws more