On March 8, the registrar of the Manitoba College of Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. James Morison, announced that Henry Morgentaler has been re-licensed to practice medicine in the province. Pro-Life spokesman, Pat Soenen denounced the decision. Morison pointed out that the license does not permit Morgentaler to perform abortions at his Winnipeg clinic, which is his announced intention. (By federal law the free-standing abortuary is illegal.)
The League for Life has complained to the College, claiming it has failed to honour its own bylaw with respect to protection of the public.
A few days after the registrar’s announcement, the president of the Manitoba College of Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. F.P. Doyle, resigned in protest. Dr. Doyle said he does not want to be president of an institution that licensed a doctor who “has openly expressed his intent to flout the law.” Dr. Doyle, who practices in St. Anne, also indicated that physicians in rural south-eastern Manitoba are overwhelmingly opposed to Morgentaler. (CP report, Globe, March 12 1985)
Always the same remark
Meanwhile, Morgentaler declared that he would probably perform the first abortions on Saturday, March 23 and that he expected to be prosecuted. He also accused the Winnipeg Archbishop of singling out his clinic “for hatred and intolerance.” This is a standard charge which Morgentaler uses time and time again, most recently against Cardinal Carter.
Referring specifically to the Cardinal, Morgentaler said according to the Toronto Sun (March 5): “It is obvious that the leaders of the Catholic Church are unable to persuade Catholics to abstain from abortion and birth control, so they attempt to marshall their political power to impose their views.”
Morgentaler made the same remark in 1968 and has been repeating it ever since.
Guelph and London
Henry Morgentaler appeared at the University of Guelph on March 11 and the University of Western Ontario in London on March 12, 1985. In London, Morgentaler also spoke at Fanshawe College, a community college. In his two-day visit to southwestern Ontario, he earned $ 8000- $3000 for each university speech, and $2000 at the community college.
Objections to using student funds for the pro-abortion cause had been over-ruled and requests that a pro-life speaker be invited were turned down, according to the London Free Press (March 2). University of Western Ontario student council president Craig Smith, denied that his council was taking any stand on the abortion question. “We make a practice of being totally neutral.” He said.
In Guelph Morgentaler spoke to 1000 people while “about 1200 anti-abortionist demonstrators marched outside,” according to the Toronto Star (March 2). He said he didn’t understand the “hysteria” that the June 1983 opening of his Toronto abortuary had touched off. He again attacked Gerald Emmet Cardinal Carter for asking parishioners to protest against he abortion clinic during the preceding month.
In London about 2200 people, mostly students slowly filed into the warm Alumni Hall. Outside, more than 1000 pro-life supporters braved cold blustery winds the London Free Press (March 13 reported, to form a peaceful demonstration.
One of the marchers not carrying a sign was Bishop John Sherlock of London diocese. He told the Free Press the church’s position is very clear. “ We are against abortion- period.” Catholic parishes were strongly behind the pro-life showing and Sherlock said that’s the way it should be. The salvation Army and other religious denominations were also well represented in the Pro-Life crowd, which heard from several speakers, including liberal MP John Sweeney.
Morgentaler, ridiculed what he called “shrill fanatics trying to impose their views.” He drew loud applause when he vowed to continue to stand up to critics. Gallup polls, he said have shown that the majority of Canadians support the right of women to seek abortions. (The lastest, 1983, Gallup poll showed 76% of Canadians opposed to abortion on demand.) He denounced pro-life’s “rhetoric of violence” in claiming that abortion kills babies. “Imagine the gall of these people,” he said. At Fanshawe College he called them “Fetus fetishist” (to loud applause)
Morgentaler drew laughs and applause when he pointed out that pro-lifers have threatened to kill him and bomb his Toronto abortion clinic. He did not specify who these “pro-lifers’ are.
He brought the Alumni Hall crowd to its feet when he ended his speech with a promise to continue the “struggle” for fair treatment of women seeking abortions in Canada.