Ever since Henry Morgentaler announced in the fall of 1982 that he intended to open an abortuary in Ontario, he stated on many occasions that “no jury will convict me.” However, on July 20th, when he held his press conference following the decision of Mr. Justice Parker of the denial of the motion that the abortion law was unconstitutional, Morgentaler altered his rhetoric to state that “no properly constituted, unbiased jury will convict me.”
It seems clear that Morgentaler is now entertaining the possibility that he might not win his case in the Province of Ontario and is preparing his supporters for that possibility by providing the groundwork to say that the judge, jury and prosecution were “biased” against him.
On July 20, Justice Parker of the Supreme Court of Ontario handed down a judgment against Henry Morgentaler stating that Morgentaler must stand trial here in Ontario on charges of conspiring to perform an abortion. Since that Judgment there has been much public activity by Morgentaler, his lawyer Morris Manning, and their pro-abortion feminist supporters.
On July 20 itself, alderman Jack Layton provided a room at Toronto’s City Hall for a Morgentaler press conference for speeches by nearly a dozen pro-abortionists.
A poorly attended rally and march was held later that evening near the closed abortuary on Harbord St.
On the weekend of September 8, two pro-Morgentaler NFB films were shown “back to back” at a film festival in Toronto. Even pro-abortion Toronto Star columnist Lynda Hurst admitted that one of them was extremely biased.
Just before election day, September 4, Morgentaler again came to Ontario, and, in a desperate attempt to sway voters (via the media) he promoted the idea that everyone should vote NDP because the NDP supports abortion-on-demand.
On Wednesday September 19, Morgentaler once again arrived in Ontario to debate pro-life advocate Joe Borowski at the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto. Mr. Borowski clearly won the debate as he provided the facts of life in the womb in the largely anti-life group of students. Because of pro-abortion journalist Vicky Russell’s biased tape editing of the encounter, Mr. Borowski was made to appear the weaker of the two on a one minute spot on CBC’s The National later that evening.
A debate on abortion and the Charter of Rights was also arranged (apparently) by the students of the Faculty of Law for the day after the debate with Joe Borowski. This second debate was to have been between Morris Manning, Morgentaler’s legal counsel, and pro-life lawyer, Gwen Landolt. The arguments would have been the same ones already presented to Justice Parker, and, which are intended to be presented to The Court of Appeal in a few weeks.
Mrs. Landolt sought the advice of the Law Society of Upper Canada about the propriety of such a forum at this time. Indeed, upon inquiry, The Law Society expressed concern about the appropriateness of disclosing legal arguments when the matter is sub judice (before the courts). The debate was cancelled.
It has since been discovered that both electronic and print media had been invited to attend this debate although Mrs. Landolt had been informed the debate would be closed to the press. Students of The Faculty of Law have said that they did not invite the media and so far it cannot be discovered who did.
Perhaps because of the Law Society’s decision to cancel the second debate Morris Manning did not show up for a planned talk show (that same week) at Channel 11 in Hamilton with Tom Charington and Gwen Landolt on the subject of “father’s rights.”
In any case, there has been much media-oriented, public, pre-trial activity stemming from the pro-abortionists and one of the most curious of these activities was Morgentaler’s lawyer “shopping” for another Crown Counsel, something he himself had accused the Ontario Attorney General of doing during the previous proceedings in Justice Parker’s courtroom.
Morgentaler’s Toronto lawyer, Morris Manning, Q.C., wrote a letter to Ontario’s Attorney General Roy McMurtry, asking to have Crown Counsel Alan Cooper removed from the Morgentaler abortion trial.
In this unprecedented letter, Mr. Manning alleged that Mr. Cooper’s immediate superior, Deputy Crown Attorney Jerome Wiley (who, it turned out, had not even appointed Mr. Cooper to the case) was allegedly linked to a pro-life group. Mr. Manning called for the removal of Mr. Cooper saying that if he were allowed to continue, it would “compromise the fairness of the Crown Attorney’s office.”
Mr. Richard Chaloner, the Director of Crown Attorneys for Ontario, investigated the matter and completely rejected the accusation of Mr. Manning, stating that the latter was “simply wrong” when he alleged that Deputy Crown Attorney Wiley was an executive of an anti-abortion organization. Further, Mr. Chaloner demanded that Morris Manning apologize to the two Metro prosecutors.
What was this all about? It would appear that Mr. Manning, in publicly proclaiming unsubstantiated accusations of “bias” was attempting to achieve two objectives: obtain a Crown Prosecutor sympathetic to his cause and prepare the way for the possibility of Morgentaler’s defeat in Court.
Obtaining a Crown Prosecutor sympathetic to his cause
Manning was himself a Crown Attorney in Toronto up until 1976, and in that position, he was no doubt aware of lawyers in the Crown Attorney’s office who were sympathetic to the pro-abortion position. Apparently Crown Attorney Cooper, by simply doing his job of upholding the law – nothing more, nothing less – was perceived as a threat, so, Manning labeled Mr. Copper’s performance of his duty as “grossly unfair.”
It is widely known that the Crown Counsel in Morgentaler’s Quebec trials was not unsympathetic to Morgentaler and that the case was not prosecuted with vigour. It is also known that in the U.S., when pro-abortion cases come to trial, that the State Prosecutors are, in fact, generally sympathetic to pro-abortionists’ position. Apparently Mr. Manning decided that, the Crown, by simply performing its duty, was being “unfair.”
This is not the first time that the pro-abortionists have attempted to manipulate the outcome of a case by alleging bias. In 1975, when Morgentaler’s earlier case was argued before the Supreme Court of Canada, his lawyer at that time argued that one of the Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada was “biased” against his client since he had previously expressed his personal views against abortion, and that he should be excluded from hearing the case. After he made his accusations, the full court recessed and fifteen minutes later returned. Chief Justice Bora Laskin stated on behalf of the court, that on no uncertain terms, defense counsel’s request was to be rejected since a judge swears to uphold the law as it is written and will not be affected by his personal views. So too, in this case the Crown Attorney is there simply to uphold the law and his personal views, whatever they may be are irrelevant.
It is perhaps ironic that Manning was attempting to “Crown Shop” when, in fact, he had accused the Ontario Attorney General of doing just that when initial charges were laid against Morgentaler. Manning had argued before Mr. Justice Parker of the Supreme Court of Ontario that since the Attorney General in the Province of Quebec was not prosecuting the accused even though he was openly providing abortion services, that the Attorney General in the Province of Ontario, by proceeding with the prosecution, was, in fact, “Crown Shopping” for the right judge or jury. Mr. Justice Parker, however, deftly dealt with this argument in that he said the case against Morgentaler in Quebec was based upon different facts and took place approximately ten years ago and was commenced by a different attorney general, in a different province, and that as a result, one can hardly say that the laying of the charges in Ontario was harassment or oppression.
However when it comes to harassment and oppression Mr. Manning’s client, Henry Morgentaler takes a back seat to no one.
There is evidence available in the public record about Morgentaler’s previous encounters with the law of Canada.
- Evidence that contradicts the image of a man who cares about the well-being of women. When he was arrested in 1973, Morgentaler was cramming in one abortion every twenty minutes. The patient who testified said that her interview with him lasted five minutes, most of it being devoted to working out how she would pay for the abortion. She was not asked her blood group or why she wanted an abortion. No blood pregnancy or urine tests were taken. Her pulse, blood pressure, and temperature were not measured. Her symptoms – lack of appetite, sleeplessness, vomiting – were not discussed.
- His indictment by the Professional Corporation of Physicians of Quebec. In 1976, they suspended him for failing to practice good medicine. Referring to “the inadequacies of the quality of his professional practice,” the physicians found that the main thing on his mind was “protecting his fees.” Not only did he hold no valid interview or perform any of the necessary tests; after the operation he obtained no pathological examination of the tissues he had removed. Nor did he follow up any of his patients. The corporation condemned him for the “mercenary character” of his doctor-patient relationship.
- Revelations showed that he directly jeopardized the health of the women he performed abortions on. To save money Morgentaler reused Vacurettes in his operation. These Vacurettes are plastic and disposable and, according to the manufacturer, should not be sterilized for reuse. At that time they cost $3.30 each. Nevertheless, Morgentaler exposed women to the risk of urine infection by using them more than once. This comes from a piece of investigative journalism carried on the front page of The Montreal Gazette (December 24, 1974).
- The irregularities surrounding his 1976 Montreal trial. Morgentaler boasts of his three jury acquittals. What should be pointed out is the evidence of bribery and intimidation that emerged at the third trial. At least one juror was offered $1,000 to vote for Morgentaler’s acquittal. Judge Ducros instructed the juror to disqualify himself, but made no effort to determine whether any other members of the jury had been bribed. (The Globe and Mail, September 20 and 23, 1976.) The jury was not sequestered and, after spending a full day weighing its verdict, was deadlocked. When they went out for lunch jurors were photographed by someone they did not recognize, and returned in a state of fright. The judge refused the jury’s request to confiscate the man’s film (he turned out to be a news photographer). Much against their will, he ordered them to return to their deliberations. They reported a verdict of not guilty.
On August 28 Henry Morgentaler was heard on CBC’s Metro Morning (Metro Morning as the name implies has a largely Toronto and area audience, the area from which jurors for his trial will be selected) discussing the “unfairness” of the Catholic Church on the abortion issue.
Is Morgentaler concerned about Christians and jury selection here in Ontario?
Before Morgentaler’s 1976 trial in Quebec prospective jurors were challenged to state their religion. Practicing Catholics were rejected by the defence. The prosecution did not challenge at all and so the jury in Quebec was made of pro-abortionists.
Should Henry Morgentaler be found guilty in Ontario his supporters will have a number of scapegoats from which to choose.