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Morgentaler and his opponents

The Story

In the early 1970s Dr. Henry Morgentaler is not the only Canadian doctor performing abortions outside of hospitals, but he is the most vocal. He attracts huge publicity in an effort, he says, to prove that abortions can be performed safely in private clinics. In March 1973, Morgentaler announces that he has successfully performed over 5,000 abortions. In May, he demonstrates his technique on CTV television. Morgentaler's high-profile abortion campaign spurs the development of the anti-abortion movement in Canada.

Medium: Television
Program: Take 30
Broadcast Date: Sept. 26, 1974
Guest(s): Henry Morgentaler
Interviewer: Ed Reid
Duration: 3:42

Did You know?

• Dr. Henry Morgentaler said that the struggle for social justice was his main inspiration. His need to help the underdog arose from his childhood experience as a Jewish teenager living in Nazi-occupied Poland. The Nazis killed his father, an outspoken political activist, in 1939. Later, Morgentaler, his mother and sister were sent to a concentration camp. Morgentaler alone survived.

• Henry Morgentaler delved into primal therapy to deal with painful memories from his youth including the murder of his parents by the Nazis. Primal therapy is "a psychological treatment in which the patient is encouraged to express the violent emotions of infancy by crying, screaming, shouting, or the like."


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