The Bell Globemedia conglomerate took another kick at pro-life, pro-family Canadians recently with the airing of a made-for-TV movie lionizing Canada’s most notorious abortionist, Henry Morgentaler.
Broadcast by its CTV television component on Jan. 5, Choice purported to recount the “tumultuous life story” of Morgentaler, who was credited with leading the “movement that ultimately changed abortion laws in Canada.” The always-megalomaniacal Morgentaler, for his part, said he was “flattered” to have been the subject of a work that served as a record of his “achievements.”
Choice was part of CTV’s “Signature Series” of movies and was a Barna-Alper, Great Blue and Park Ex Pictures production, made in association with CTV. They were supported partially – and involuntarily – by the people of Canada through: the Canadian Television Fund (which was created by the government of Canada and the Canadian cable industry); the CTF: Licence Fee Program; Telefim Canada: Equity Investment Program; and the COGECO Program Development Fund.
These entities worked in association with: the W Network and CBC Radio-Canada, the Government of Canada: Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, SODEC and the Government of Ontario: the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit.
Choice was the latest in a string of blatant attacks against pro-life, pro-family Canadians by Bell Globemedia and its related entities over many years. CTV has aired Prom Queen, an alleged account of the Marc Hall case, which concerned a “Catholic” high school student who won a court battle to permit him to take a homosexual partner to the school prom. That movie was assailed for being deliberately calculated to offend Catholic sensibilities.
CTV has also aired anti-Catholic material on its programs Comedy Inc. and the now-cancelled Mike Bullard Show. In 2000, CTV’s W-5 program targeted pro-life crisis-pregnancy centres by sneaking in a volunteer carrying a hidden camera to the Toronto Aid to Women centre and filming everything going on there for about a week. In the more distant past, CTV shockingly – on Mother’s Day, no less – broadcast an abortion committed by Morgentaler.
At Bell Globemedia’s other subsidiary, the Globe and Mail newspaper, writers and editors have similarly worked in overdrive to undermine life and family values. The Globe, despite its marginally conservative and business orientation in terms of fiscal matters, is noted for being on the far left on social issues such as abortion and homosexuality. Recently, for example, it ran an editorial urging that marriage commissioners be denied the right to refuse to perform same-sex “marriages.”
In early 2003, the newspaper published a massive spread, with photographs, calling for Morgentaler to be named to the Order of Canada. The piece – and subsequent columns viciously attacking anyone who quibbled with that proposal – was penned by ardent feminist and pro-abortion writer, Heather Mallick.
The Globe’s Ian Brown wrote a profile of its hero as a prelude to the airing of the movie. Brown used as his focus the result of an Ipsos-Reid poll that showed three-quarters of women aged 18-34 don’t even know who Morg-entaler is. Presumably, Brown’s article was designed to address that state of affairs.
“Women and men have ‘Dr.’ Morgentaler to thank” for freer abortion, wrote Brown, adding that it was “shocking” so many women don’t know who the man is. Brown went on to suggest that sanctioned abortion may have made Canada “not just freer, but more compassionate.”
The Canada AM television program had Morgentaler on as a guest during the morning of the movie’s airing, wherein he proceeded to claim he was willing to die to secure the “right” to an abortion. “I look at a life of achievement, because I achieved a great deal and I’m very proud of it.” He also lamented that his “sweeter, nicer, gentler” nature did not emerge in the movie, because he’s “basically a nice guy.” He repeated his often-stated claim that “we have a better society,” thanks to his efforts.
Other laudatory coverage was provided by the Canadian Press, which distributed a lengthy piece by Lorrayne Anthony that included only a token dissenting quote from Gwen Landolt of REAL Women of Canada. Liz Braun of the Toronto Sun spoke of the movie on a “must-see” basis, and Matthew Hays for the Toronto Star didn’t even bother to obtain any counter-vailing points of view in his profile of the “abortion champion.”
The coverage was not unanimously pro-Morgentaler or in praise of the movie, however. CanWest TV critic Eric Kohanik suggested the movie faced “an uphill struggle” because it was a controversial piece “that will rub some people the wrong way.” He suggested that television’s most coveted demographic group “probably doesn’t care about Morgentaler or CTV’s movie. Who may care, though, are those who remain philosophically opposed to Morgentaler’s cause and would bristle at a movie that would even be remotely perceived as glorifying him.”
Bristle was exactly what Denise Mountenay did when she learned that a laudatory movie was being made of Morgentaler’s so-called career. In a letter to CTV, Mountenay – who has written the book Forgiven of Murder, on her harrowing abortion experiences – said on an emotional basis, her abortions left her devastated and fighting depression for many years. Physically, they gave her an infection, a damaged cervix and a badly scarred uterus, which allowed her to give birth to only one child in subsequent years, although she wanted more.
She concluded by challenging CTV to make a movie about her story.
Collectively, Choice drew a big yawn from pro-lifers and others who tuned in to see what all the fuss was about. Many interviewed by this writer either didn’t watch it or said they watched it for only a few minutes and then changed the channel. Others quoted by Canadian Catholic News reporter Deborah Gyapong expressed similar sentiments.
Calgary’s Catholic Bishop Fred Henry said he didn’t bother checking it out, as “an exercise in anger management on my part.” Leading Catholic blogger Kathy Shaidle said “the program looked awful” and mocked the fake beard and accent of the actor who played Morgentaler. Landolt, of REAL Women, characterized the movie’s attempt to turn Morgentaler into a crusader as “a joke, since he is actually a crass opportunist.”
Predictably, the movie ignored the many real blackmarks that have soiled Morgentaler’s abortion career, many of which have been documented on Ted Gerk’s “Morgentaler Files” website at www.interlife.org/morgentaler. Among them is a current case where Morgentaler is fending off a $185,000 lawsuit over an alleged botched abortion at his Ottawa clinic. Other transgressions over the years include Morgentaler’s improper reuse of medical instruments, his admission that he simply flushes aborted fetuses down the drain, his method of allegedly stuffing a sanitary napkin in a woman’s mouth to stop her from screaming in pain, a $725,000 award against his Halifax clinic for negligence and more.
Belying suggestions that he has challenged the Canadian “establishment,” rather than been an integral part of it, is the fact that a former associate of his, now turned pro-life activist, claims Morgentaler used to boast loudly during wine-and-cheese parties about how much money he was being given by governments to do his “work” including, as was found after a freedom of information request, $5 million from the Ontario government just for rent and security at his Toronto abortuary.
Postings about the movie on Judy Rebick’s Rabble.ca website suggested that CTV was either unable to sell a single commercial minute for the movie, or that only the Jamieson Vitamins company (www.jamiesonvitamins.com) sponsored it. If so, the development means pro-lifers and concerned Canadians across Canada sufficiently spooked sponsors away from supporting the movie.
As one poster on Rabble commented: “It is a reminder of the power that the ‘anti-choice’ movement still wields in Canada, that they could intimidate all advertisers to boycott the movie.” Gyapong reported that as of Jan. 10, communications to CTV denouncing the movie outnumbered those commending it by a three-to-one margin.
Those who wish to protest against Bell Globemedia’s consistent attacks against life and family in Canada via its various media holdings can contact it at: Bell Globemedia Inc., 9 Channel Nine Court, Scarborough, Ont., M1S 4B5. Telephone: (416) 332-5700. E-mail: email@example.com.