ABORTION LAW REFORM ASSOCIATION OF NEW ZEALAND
30 May 2013 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ALRANZ NOTES WITH SADNESS DEATH OF HENRY MORGENTALER
The Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand notes with sadness the death of the Canadian physician Dr. Henry Morgentaler, aged 90, who played the key role in the court case that struck down Canada’s unconstitutional abortion law 25 years ago.
Dr. Morgentaler, a Holocaust survivor who later emigrated to Canada, opened the country’s first abortion clinic in 1970, and his efforts – which led to his arrest, imprisonment and numerous court battles – ultimately led to Canada’s abortion laws being struck down by its Supreme Court in 1988. According to news media reports, Dr. Morgentaler died on Tuesday at his home in Toronto.
ALRANZ member Pat Syme, who met Dr. Morgentaler some 15 years ago, said he was a remarkable man, and a hero to so many for his long campaign for reproductive rights in Canada.
“Thanks to Dr. Morgentaler, Canada now has no federal law against abortion,” Ms. Syme said. “He was a Humanist and a humanitarian who essentially dedicated his life to the struggle for reproductive rights.”
She pointed to comments by the then Chief Justice of Canada who said in the 1988 decision that “forcing a woman, by threat of criminal sanction, to carry a fetus to term unless she meets certain criteria unrelated to her own priorities and aspirations is a profound interference with a woman’s body”.
ALRANZ President, Dr. Morgan Healey, said the Morgentaler decision bequeathed Canada a legal regime that offers strong protections for abortion access.
“While this hasn’t ended the struggle in Canada, where efforts to impose restrictions continue, it has shown that abortion doesn’t need to be controlled by criminal law, as it is in New Zealand,” she said.
For more information about the “Morgentaler Decision” visit: http://www.morgentaler25years.ca/
For more information about ALRANZ visit www.alranz.org