Abortuary I

July 12

Fredericton, N.B. – Henry Morgentaler announces that he will open a ‘clinic’ in Fredericton within one year “if the McKenna government doesn’t do it first…I think the need is there,” he says.

He expects opposition but dismisses it: “There are fanatics everywhere, but most people do not approve of their storm trooper tactics.”

George Gilmore, president of the N.B. Right-To-Life Association, says he is “deeply concerned” and Michel Arsenault of Lifesavers Moncton is outraged “at Morgentaler’s intention to expand his profitable killing business into our province.”  Dr. Carolyn Barry, a pro-life physician, comments that doing surgical procedures in a clinical situation is not safe medical practice: it puts the patient’s health in jeopardy.

Provincial Justice Minister James Lockyer said last October that a Morgentaler ‘clinic’ would be permitted in the province, but would not be paid out of Medicare.  Federal Justice minister Kim Campbell says, however, that it will be up to the courts to rule on this point.

The New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal finds this stand disconcerting – showing insensitivity to the provincial position.  The Fredericton Daily Gleaner agrees with the provincial view that abortion should be restricted to accredited hospitals, but recommends that Ottawa bring in an abortion bill based on the trimester system.

Abortuary II

July 29

Edmonton, AB – A fire at Morgentaler’s Edmonton abortuary – the fourth this month – was probably the work of “radical” anti-abortionists, says an investigator.  Members of pro-life groups deny setting it; they maintain that it was probably set by someone who supports Morgentaler and wants to discredit them.


August 6

Paris – Dr. Etienne Baulieu, inventor of the French abortion pill, says that U.S. trials of it will start within a few months.  They will be positive, he says, since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration looks favourably on the pill.  It has been banned in the U.S. since 1986.


August 8

Toronto – Reporting on a University of Toronto study of occasional cocaine use in early pregnancy, Dr. Gideon Koren of the Hospital for Sick Children, says such use may not harm new-borns; if a coke user becomes pregnant she shouldn’t worry that she must have an abortion to avoid having an abnormal baby.


August 11

Toronto – Louise Summerhill, foundress of Birthright, dies at age 75.


August 13

Wichita, KS – U.S. District Judge Patrick Kelly sends one man to jail and suspends the sentences of two others for disobeying his order to cease blockading abortion ‘clinics’ in Wichita, Kansas.  Still the Operation Rescuers who have come to Cichita have broad popular support, including that of the governor, Joan Finney.


August 15

Toronto – The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) fails to adopt a position presented by its ethics committee calling for recognition of the fetus as a person when it allegedly makes the “quantum leap” to cognition (brain activity) at 20 weeks.  Committee chairman Dr. Noel Doig argues that it becomes a person when it develops the potential for brain activity; Dr. Alanna Danilkewich contends that giving a fetus legal status would lead to “pregnancy police” protecting fetal life and reducing women to incubator status.

In a Moncton Times Transcript column, Claire Hoy ridicules the doctors a few days later for being all of a dither.  In practical terms, he points out, there are only two “quantum leaps” in the life of a fetus – conception and birth.  We cannot compromise with the horrible killing of innocent unborn little people before or after 20 weeks.

Jakki Jeffs of Ontario Alliance for Life points out in a letter to the Globe and Mail that the intrauterine environment of the fetus is of paramount importance to the obstetrician; this attitude and the CMA report are in complete opposition.


August 17

Hungary – Pope John Paul II backs a recent condemnation of abortion by the Hungarian bishops, asking “Isn’t abortion the death of the living secret of love?”


August 18

Kennebunkport, Maine – Randall Terry and Rev. Patrick Mahoney, leaders of Operation Rescue, visit Kennebunkport, Maine, President Bush’s summer home, but fail to see the President.  They tell newsmen that their group has no intention of changing its tactics of blocking abortuary entrances.


August 19

Ottawa – The manager of the Central Canada Exhibition in Ottawa bans several posters of half-naked women and men from the fair grounds, but finds no objection to Action Life’s display of fetal development models and pictures of aborted fetuses.  This is a surprising step forward.


August 19

Dauphin, Man. – After a heated debate, 900 people crowded into the hockey arena in Dauphin, Manitoba to vote to keep the ban at the local hospital on abortion except in life-threatening situations.  Dr. Garnett Warrian, the hospital’s chief of staff, says he will resign.


August 19

Edmonton – Commenting on the fire at the Edmonton abortuary in Western Report, Celeste McGovern points out that pro-life spokesmen have unanimously condemned this act of violence.  “As much as we are opposed to Morgentaler, say Susan McNeely, vice-president of Alberta’s Campaign Life Coalition branch, “we do not condone arson because it could endanger lives.”


August 19

London – An early genetic test to detect fetal abnormalities, chorion villus sampling (CVS), is described by the British medical journal, Lancet, as much more hazardous than amniocentesis.  A University of Manitoba geneticist, Dr. John Hammerton, responds that “We have to be very careful how we counsel women so they can make a choice. Some women want the test early.”


August 27

Winnipeg – Interviewed by Lorna Dueck of Christian Week, Morgentaler maintains that liberalized abortion is good for society and individuals and that his conscience is clear.  The accusation that he is killing babies “is absolute nonsense…contrary to the biological facts.”


August 28

Ottawa – Canada’s Catholic Bishops call for a new abortion law to protect the lives of the unborn.  They agree to delete from their motion a section referring to the difficulty Ottawa has had in enacting legislation – since it might suggest that the bishops would settle for a law which would simply reduce the number of abortions and would alienate pro-life groups.

Following upon the Bishops’ statement, the Woodstock Sentinal declares editorially that protection for the unborn is a long overdue matter.  Earlier, on August 1, the same paper published an editorial on “What happened to old values?”


August 30

Toronto – Jill Palmer, public relations coordinator with a group which encourages charitable donations notes that a postal strike at this time threatens severe damage to organizations like Amnesty International and the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League (CARAL), Campaign Life Coalition, which has no charitable status, is surprises to learn that CARAL does.

24 hours

August 30

Ohio – The Governor of Ohio, George Voinovich, signs into law a bill requiring a 24-hour waiting period for abortions.


September 1

Toronto – The Toronto Star, in an editorial, prints a table showing the frequency of Cesarean sections in Toronto and district hospitals, and criticizes doctors for routinely scheduling the procedure without real need to do so.


September 3

Toronto – A son is born to Greg Murphy and Barbara (Dodd) Murphy, two years after Barbara’s celebrated – and later regretted – abortion at the hands if Morgentaler.