Books & Films

Most of the books listed can be found used through online sellers or at libraries (particularly academic institutions). A few can still be purchased new but many, particularly the older books, are now out of print.


Books About Henry Morgentaler

Title Author


Morgentaler, the Doctor Who Couldn’t Turn Away Eleanor Wright Pelrine


In this book Eleanor Wright Pelrine tells the story of Henry Morgentaler’s life. She describes the circumstances and motives that led him to decide to found an abortion clinic, and she chronicles the decade-long battles that followed between Morgentaler and the authorities.
La Polemique quebecoise autour de la question de l’avortement et l’affaire Morgentaler Gilbert Tarrab


Avortement, oui et non: Dialogue en parallele avec le Dr. Henry Morgentaler et l’eveque de Gaspe, Mgr. Bertrand Blanchet Michel Buruiana


Collection Circonstances.
The Morgentaler judgment : how the decisions differ Mildred J. Morton


Library of Parliament, Research Branch.
The Supreme Court of Canada Decision on Abortion Edited by Shelagh Day & Stan Persky


The Reasons for Judgment from the Justices who decided the 1988 Supreme Court Morgentaler Decision, with Introduction by Stan Persky and Commentary by Shelagh Day.
Morgentaler, l’obstiné Sylvie Halpern


Ce portrait nuancé de Henry Morgentaler donne à S. Halpern l’occasion de brosser en toile de fond un vaste historique du douloureux débat autour de l’avortement, depuis les années 60 jusqu’à aujourd’hui.
Morgentaler vs Borowski: Abortion, the Charter, and the Courts (Oxford) Frederick L. Morton


The book contains 3 stories: First, it describes the three decades of battles waged inside and outside the courtroom by Dr. Henry Morgentaler and Joe Borowski, respectively, Canada’s most immediately identifiable pro-choice and pro-life abortion activists. Second, it uses Canada’s “abortion trilogy” – the Morgentaler, Borowski, and Diagle cases – to explore the judicial process. Finally, the book tells the story of the 1982 Canadian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, revealing how much the Charter has changed politics in Canada since 1982.
Doctors of Conscience: The Struggle to Provide Abortion Before and After Roe V. Wade Carole E. Joffe


An American book with a chapter on Dr. Morgentaler. The book explores the lives of the heroic and committed physicians who have worked to ensure safe abortions for women in the face of neglect – and worse – from hospitals, national medical organizations, and colleagues.
Morgentaler: A Difficult Hero Catherine Dunphy


The definitive biography of one of Canada’s most controversial personalities. Dr. Henry Morgentaler is the unlikely hero at the center of Canada’s most divisive issue — the right to legal and medically safe abortion — and a man of intense contradiction. He is a champion of women, a humanist, and a caring, compassionate doctor, beloved by patients from all social strata. Yet his relationships with friends, family, and lovers over the years have been troubled. This book is the first to tell his story completely, in all its complexity.


Books By Henry Morgentaler



Henry Morgentaler: Un entretien avec Catherine Germain et Sylvie Dupont


An extended interview with Dr. Morgentaler in French. (Available as a podcast:
Abortion and Contraception


Dr. Morgentaler discusses the practical, legal, religious, and moral questions that abortion raises, as well as providing information on the reproductive system, pregnancy, embryological development, abortion methods, possible complications, and contraception.
Freedom is my Passion


A book of poetry. (Available from


Films About Henry Morgentaler

Title Created by


Democracy on Trial: The Morgentaler Affair Director: Paul Cowan



The story of Dr. Henry Morgentaler’s fight to provide safe abortions in Canada and the right to challenge a law’s validity in Canada. Available at some libraries or through the National Film Board of Canada.
A Matter of Choice: A film on reproductive freedom Director/Producer: Francine E. Zuckerman


Explores the issue of reproductive freedom, and the work of Dr. Morgentaler as the central force in the battle to provide safe, legal and accessible abortion.
The Life and Times of Henry Morgentaler Director: Audrey Mailor

Paperny Films


A profile of Canada’s most controversial personality. (Winner Best Biography at HotDocs 2000.)
Choice: The Henry Morgentaler Story Director: John L’Ecuyer



A made-for-TV dramatization of the story of Dr. Henry Morgentaler, a General Practitioner who challenged the law to ensure a woman’s right to choose a safe abortion. Stars David Eisner as Dr. Morgentaler. (Library and Archives Canada – Canadian Feature Film Database)
Henry Director/Producer: Dara Bratt


A feature-length documentary that deconstructs the man behind the cause. The film combines observational cinema verité with interviews and archival footage, including home videos. Dr. Morgentaler reveals why he did it, the sacrifices it took, and the lingering regrets he has today.