Can anyone polarize like Henry Morgentaler? -

Can anyone polarize like Henry Morgentaler?

Tease the day: The famed abortion activist divided the country for decades


Blaise Edwards/CP

Guys like Mike Duffy and Rob Ford have dominated the news, almost completely, for exactly two weeks. Throughout, nothing could dethrone the ongoing scandals in the Senate and Toronto’s city hall. That is, until Henry Morgentaler died yesterday of a heart attack. He was 90.

To call Morgentaler a polarizing figure is a massive understatement. As you’ve read for decades, and will read again today, Morgentaler fought tirelessly for abortion rights. He emerged as the symbol of the movement that coalesced around that crusade. He made friends who canonized him, and enemies who reviled him. None of this is news to anyone. We’re just reminding ourselves. Today’s newspapers are full of reminders. The Globe and Mail calls Morgentaler a “doctor of defiance,” and adds later that he was “fiercely articulate” and “obsessively determined.” The National Post remembers him as “the man who divided Canada.” The Toronto Star recalls that he was a “crusader.” The Ottawa Citizen‘s headline reads, simply, “he divides us still.”

Perhaps the most telling reaction to Morgentaler’s death came from a politician in Ottawa.

John McKay, a Liberal MP and staunch pro-life advocate who isn’t afraid to be vocal, spoke to reporters following yesterday’s Question Period. McKay spoke briefly. Given what he probably thinks of Morgentaler’s achievements, McKay’s words are probably best described as wholly diplomatic. The conservative Liberal certainly understands where the abortion debate stands in Ottawa—nowhere, officially—and what Morgentaler means to a lot of his party’s voters. He called the abortion crusader a “distinguished man,” but then lamented that he introduced “abortion on demand,” a pejorative if ever there were one. Morgentaler leaves “a mixed legacy,” McKay said, again following up with a lament that Canada “has yet to have a mature conversation about abortion.”

What does McKay feel about Morgentaler’s passing, one reporter wondered. “I don’t know,” McKay began. “He certainly ended up polarizing the debate, and I don’t know that that actually served us well.” Read that again. He didn’t condemn Morgentaler, not once. That’s about as tempered a response as you’ll get from anyone—especially a pro-life parliamentarian—about Morgentaler, a man at once touted as a hero and hated as a baby killer.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with fines levied against a number of political parties by the CRTC for illegal robocalls. The National Post fronts the death of divisive abortion activist Henry Morgentaler—hero to many, enemy to others. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with Mayor Rob Ford’s apparent knowledge of the whereabouts of a video allegedly showing his smoking crack cocaine. The Ottawa Citizen leads with RCMP Superintendent Bruno Saccomani‘s defence against allegations that he mismanaged the prime minister’s security team. iPolitics fronts the severance owed to Nigel Wright, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff. leads with Morgentaler’s legacy. CTV News leads with the release from hospital of a Chinese baby rescued from a sewer.  National Newswatch showcases the Star‘s top story about the Ford video.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Khadr. After spending eight months segregated from other inmates in an Ontario prison, former Guantanamo Bay inmate Omar Khadr was transferred to an Edmonton facility. 2. Child porn. Donnie Snook, 41, a former Saint John, N.B., city councillor, pleaded guilty to 46 charges, including sexual assault and possession, distribution, and production of child pornography.
3. Spending. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says the country’s biggest cities are spending money at a greater pace than population growth—an unsustainable trend. 4. Drugs. Jimmy Cournoyer, 33, from Laval, Que., admitted to a New York courtroom that he ran a continent-wide, $1-billion marijuana network that involved the Hells Angels and Rizutto family.

Filed under:

Can anyone polarize like Henry Morgentaler?

  1. RIP Dr. Morgentaler…..and thank you.

    • I doubt he’ll have any rest in hell.

      • Not an atheist this week Rick?

      • And, 25 years after the court case, that’s the best you can do. Sad.

  2. Nick’s political shadings, always unusual, are off once again. The anti-abortionists are becoming a smaller and smaller bunch.

    And seeing on how their big thing nowadays is attacking late abortions (and we have essentially zero very late abortions up here) shouldn’t we they be falling over themselves to priaise a doctor who expressed reservations about them?

  3. Morgentaler spent his early years in Nazi concentration camps and then dedicated his life to murdering innocent babies. You would think, if you spent time in a concentration camp, that you would dedicate your life to peace but instead morgentaler spent his life using nazi skills to murder innocents.

    And of course, our left wing intelligentsia has elevated Canada’s most prolific serial killer to order of canada because murdering babies is an achievement to be celebrated.

    I hope morgentaler really, really enjoyed murdering those babies because where he is going next, it won’t be nearly as agreeable.

      • I’m sure you would make a great assistant for kermit gosnell. You’d be excellant at snipping, beheading the partially born and vacuuming the brains out. All and all your a real pip.

        • Sorry…..not interested in your ignorant nonsense.

    • Life’s little ironies. Someone who managed to avoid the gas chamber only to indulge in infanticide on an almost equally enormous scale. It’s just too bad that all those people who think that he’s some sort of saint couldn’t have been aborted. They’re comments are truly ignorant, out of touch with reality, and not much better than common afterbirth.
      The question that never gets asked at public forums on a women’s right to choose, is why are there so many abortions being performed in Canada? DUH. Haven’t any of these women heard of condoms? Haven’t any of them heard of birth control. Weren’t they scared of getting an STD?
      It seems that many of them just use abortion as a convenience. They’re baby killers. Morgentaler was their go to guy. May he rot in hell where he belongs.

      • Now if only anti-abortion MPs could be as strident as you and not be so weasel-y about “gender selection” and “partial birth”

        Keep drawing people to the cause with holocacust comparisons, anti-choicers!

      • DUH. Because birth control fails sometimes. Because some women are sexually assaulted and impregnated. Because some fetuses develop with unsupportable birth defects in utero. Does “it seem” that women use abortion as convenience? What actual evidence do you have that would suggest that’s anything more than your opinion (to which you are entitled, but let’s not equate “seems” and “is”.

      • “Haven’t any of these women heard of condoms? Haven’t any of them heard of birth control. Weren’t they scared of getting an STD?

        Not if conservatives have had anything to do with it, no.

        Is it any wonder that the 3 highest provincial rates of teenage pregnancy also saw the 3 highest levels of Conservative support in the last election?

  4. Stephen Harper is as polarizing.

  5. This comment was deleted.

    • You understand that when you repeat potentially libelous statements, you’re also guilty of libel, right?