Your Community readers react to the death of Dr. Henry Morgentaler

Categories: Canada, Community

Dr. Henry Morgentaler, a leader in Canada's abortion movement, died Wednesday at the age of 90. (Canadian Press).  

 News of the death of Dr. Henry Morgentaler, an activist who led the abortion movement in Canada, has garnered the man praise, censure and reignited the political debate about the issue from CBC Readers. While many have cited the man who broke the law and opened the first abortion clinic in Montreal as a hero for advocating choice, others see him as a murderer.
  • "Thank you for risking your own life so women could have medical care and access to abortion when they needed it. Thank you for helping to end a long history of needless suffering. Thank you for bringing the abortion debate into the light of day. Thank you for caring enough about women's health to be practical when others only offered platitiudes. Thank you so much" said EarlyBird
  • "Dear Dr Morgentaler, I never needed your care, but I am, and have always been a supporter of yours. You have done the women of Canada the greatest service, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Just another woman." -- CMOLSEN
  • "Epitome of a hero. Thank you.".-- Serf Class Hero
  • "Dr Morgentaler saved my life." -- BRL333
  • Some, with very opposing views, made their thoughts known as well:
  • "I'm certainly happy the laws were not changed before I was deemed worthy to be born!" -- Roch in Ottawa
  • "Trying to think of something kind to say about him, but coming up empty." -- MaxPointy
  • "This man was no hero. At the very least he was an entrepreneur who became very wealthy from his chain of abortion centres. The demographic damage he did to this country is profound and permanent..." -- Bruce2112
  • "So many comments about the rights of women and no comments about the rights of the unborn. I would assume in most cases, not all but most, any talk of the rights of the unborn would require some people to be a little more responsible of why they got themselves in the predicament in the first place....both men and women since it takes 2 to tango..." 

Many who commented also mentioned how his past as a holocaust survivor helped shape him. 

  • "He was as fearless as he was passionate as he was compassionate. He could have lived a much more comfortable life but as a persecuted Jewish survivor of WW2 he felt compelled to speak truth to power. He led a very useful life." 
  • "Morgentaler emphasized that his experiences as Jew and Holocaust survivor were at the root of his work. A previous CBC report iterates this:
  • "It is odd - astoundingly odd - that he could survive a concentration camp - surely a powerful example of the ability of life to overcome adversity - and then turn around and say that "unwanted children" ought to be aborted.
  • "As I recall, he said he was moved to help women in concentration camps when he saw that pregnancy under those conditions would lead to death. Many women were raped or had relations with the guards to save themselves - also a form of rape."

Morgentaler was a complex man, choice advocate, doctor and holocaust survivor. Despite the varying views on what he stood for he is remembered across the country. 

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