NATIONAL – Pro-choice people across the country are in deep mourning after the announcement of the death of Dr. Henry Morgentaler. The 90-year old retired doctor died peacefully at his Toronto home earlier this morning after a short illness.
“We are extremely saddened to hear of Henry’s passing and wish to express our deepest sympathies to his wife Arlene, Henry’s children, and the rest of his family and close friends,” said Joyce Arthur, Executive Director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada.
“He was a true Canadian hero who saved countless lives,” Arthur said. “He devoted most of his life – at great personal sacrifice to himself – to securing a fundamental human right for women – the right to direct their own lives and destiny by controlling their fertility and bodies. Access to safe and legal abortion has reaped many benefits for Canadian women and society.”
“We will be forever grateful to Dr. Morgentaler for his wonderful courage and compassion, and the love and respect he showed to women throughout his life,” said Arthur, adding: “We will miss him terribly. But we vow to honour his memory and his life’s work by striving to improve women’s access to abortion services in Canada and reduce stigma.”
Dr. Morgentaler was the key figure in the battle to repeal Canada’s restrictive abortion law, culminating in a court victory on January 28, 1988, when the Supreme Court of Canada stuck down the law in its entirety. That case became known as the “Morgentaler decision” and today stands as one of Canada’s strongest legal precedents for the advancement of human rights. In honour of the 25th anniversary of that historic decision, the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada dedicated a website in January to the anniversary and to Dr. Morgentaler’s life: www.morgentaler25years.ca.