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We #SurvivedMorgentaler: Canadian Youth Speak Out on the 26th Anniversary of R. v. Morgentaler

We #SurvivedMorgentaler: Canadian Youth Speak Out on the 26th Anniversary of R. v. Morgentaler

Toronto, Jan 28, 2014  – As Canada marks the 26th anniversary of the R. v. Morgentaler decision that decriminalized abortion, making Canada one of the only countries in the world with unrestricted abortion-on-demand, Canadian youth are mobilizing to speak out against the Supreme Court decision that decimated their generation and is decimating the next.

“In just over a quarter century we’ve lost a quarter of our generation,” states Rebecca Richmond, the Executive Director of National Campus Life Network. “We survived R. v. Morgentaler and, as survivors, we have the opportunity and obligation to speak up and defend the next generation who are being killed through abortion.”

“With each passing year, 100,000 Canadian babies lose their lives to abortion,” comments Alissa Golob, the Youth Coordinator for Campaign Life Coalition Youth. “This anniversary is an important moment for our generation to remember those who have been lost since the Supreme Court decision, and even before with the 1969 Omnibus Bill, and recommit ourselves to ending this injustice.”

Campaign Life Coalition Youth (CLCY) and National Campus Life Network (NCLN) are spearheading the social media campaign on January 28th. They are asking Canadian pro-lifers to join the Tweet-A-Thon and post on Facebook to educate their peers and motivate them to end abortion in Canada.

#SurvivedMorgentaler and #EndAbortion are the suggested hashtags and a Facebook event has been set-up for participants to join.

“The majority of Canadians aren’t even aware that we have no abortion law in our country, let alone that we are the only western democracy without a law,” states Alissa Golob. “This is an important opportunity to start a conversation with our peers and help them understand what R. v. Morgentaler has meant for our country and our generation in particular.”

“Twenty-six years of R. v. Morgentaler has meant twenty-six years of abortion on demand. That is twenty-six years too long,” agrees Rebecca Richmond. “We are not going to abandon the next generation to the same fate that ours suffered.”

About Campaign Life Coalition Youth
Campaign Life Coalition Youth is a division of Campaign Life Coalition, the national, non-profit organization involved in political action and advocacy for legal and cultural change in Canada with respect to protecting human life and the family. CLC Youth’s mission is to educate youth and to create opportunities for young people to engage in this modern-day civil rights movement. For more information visit www.campaignlifecoalition.com.

About National Campus Life Network
National Campus Life Network is the only national organization that exists to educate, network and support post-secondary pro-life students across Canada. NCLN supports over 30 campus groups across the country and plays an important role in mentoring new leaders into the pro-life movement. 

Media Contacts:
Alissa Golob, Youth Coordinator, Campaign Life Coalition, P: 416-204-9749, C: 647-678-016,  alissa@campaignlifecoalition.com
Rebecca Richmond, Executive Director, National Campus Life Network,  C: 416-388-0461, director@ncln.ca

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5 Things the Youth of Canada Should Know About R.v. Morgentaler

Written by Rebecca Richmond

1. R. v. Morgentaler is not Roe v. Wade 

and Roe v. Wade does not apply to Canada.* Why? For the simple reason that we don’t live in the United States of America.

Because Roe v. Wade is so widely spoken of, even in Canada, people can be easily confused. R. v. Morgentaler was the January 28, 1988 Supreme Court decision that struck down the existing (and inadequate) abortion laws in the Criminal Code of Canada. The previous law, established in 1969, allowed for abortions in hospital performed for reasons of the mother’s ‘life or health’. ‘Health’ was not defined, however, and it was Therapeutic Abortion Committees within the hospitals that had to evaluate the cases. As such, access to abortion could vary substantially in different parts of the country, depending on who sat on the committees. The case of Dr. Henry Morgentaler, who served jail time for his illegal abortions, reached Canada’s highest court and, on January 28th 1988, the court handed down its decision, striking down the abortion laws. No law has been passed since.

Don’t assume that your club members will know much about the legal status of abortion. A few ways to help educate your club members on subjects like this include:

  • Share NCLN articles (like this one!) and resources with your club members. Better yet, encourage them to ‘Like’ NCLN on Facebook and follow us on instagram!
  • A good basic primer on the history of abortion law in Canada can be found here:  CCBR: History of Abortion Law in Canada
  • Good talking points on the legal status of abortion can be found at WeNeedALaw.ca: Talking Points
*Although, granted, Roe v. Wade has had a significant impact on Canada.
 

Morgentaler 2014 Meme2. R. v. Morgentaler did NOT make abortion a ‘right’.

No ‘right to an abortion’ exists in law in Canada. Not only is there no law, but the Supreme Court never established a ‘right’ like Roe v. Wade did. In fact, the Supreme Court justices were very clear about the fact that Parliament does have jurisdiction to define protections for the child within the womb. The decision, which was 5-2, was split into four separate judgments, and the only Justice who came close to defending an abortion right even stated in her judgment that the state still has an interest in protecting preborn human life:
“The precise point in the development of the foetus at which the state’s interest becomes ‘compelling’ I leave to the informed judgment of the legislature which is in a position to receive guidance on the subject from all the relevant disciplines. It seems to me, however, that it might fall somewhere in the second trimester.”  Justice Bertha Wilson, R. v. Morgentaler, January 28, 1988, Supreme Court of Canada (page 113).

You can listen to an interview where Don Hutchison, Legal Counsel for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, addresses this: Abortion Debate in Canada Interview

3. R. v. Morgentaler resulted in a legal vacuum on abortion.

Since the decriminalization of abortion, abortion has existed in a legal vacuum because of the lack of laws. This has led to/or permitted:

  • Sex-selective abortions, which disproportionately target baby girls. Because sex is generally not known until later in pregnancy, sex-selective abortions are also late-term abortions. Although sex-selection is more commonly associated with countries like India and China where the massive sex-ratio discrepancy ratios have been attracting international attention, the problem also exists in Canada. Researchers have found similarly skewed sex ratios among certain communities in Canada and the former interim editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal even called for a ban on releasing the sex of the baby until 30 weeks in order to help stem these abortions.1 
  • Children born alive (after an unsuccessful abortion) and left to die.2
  • Abortions outside of hospitals. Clinics are now able to provide abortions and, because reporting is not mandatory for clinics, we don’t even know the numbers of abortions being done outside of hospitals. Indeed, abortion statistics have become harder to come by thanks to obfuscation by provincial governments.3
  • Legal issues. Andre Schutten, a former club leader of McMaster and Legal Counsel for the Association for Reformed Political Action, described the legal issues that courts run into thanks to R. v. Morgentaler and Parliament’s refusal to address the legal void.4

 

4. R. v. Morgentaler made us survivors. 

In the quarter century since the 1988 decision, a quarter of our generation has been killed by abortion. It is more than a statistic; we are truly a survivor generation. Everyday when we’re on campus, we walk not only amidst those who are grappling with their abortions but also many who survived when siblings did not, or who may have only narrowly survived themselves. Perhaps we, ourselves, are those very people. This sobering reality means that our generation has a great deal of healing to do; it also means that we, as survivors, must speak up for all those who were silenced.

Blaise2014Meme

 

5. We will not let R. v. Morgentaler define the NEXT generation.

Beyond standing against the lethal devastation that abortion has wreaked upon our generation, we also must stand up for the next generation. It is now our generation that is having the abortions, many unaware of what their ‘choice’ really means, many unaware of the impact abortion will have on their lives, many unaware of the support and resources available to them, and many facing pressure and coercion to abort.  As young men and women who survived, we now have the opportunity and obligation to reach out to those facing untimely pregnancies and secure the freedom of the next generation. We grew up in the shadow of R. v. Morgentaler, with one quarter of our generation paying the price for our society’s lack of protections for all human beings at all stages. We cannot, must not and will not abandon the next generation to such a fate.

 

Educate your campus on the truth about abortion. Try the QA Project!

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Growing up in the Shadow of R. v. Morgentaler

This post was written for the 25th anniversary of R. v. Morgentaler in 2013. This year, Jan. 28 2014 marks the 26th anniversary.

By Rebecca Richmond, NCLN Executive Director

Gavin Richmond, 1897-1917
Gavin Richmond, 1897-1917

My great uncle was several years younger than I am now when he died, only one week away from his 20th birthday.  Gavin Richmond’s name is inscribed on the Vimy Ridge Memorial and his life is counted among the 62,820 Canadians who were killed in the First World War.  He was part of a generation decimated by the war.

They fought for our freedom and are rightly commemorated for it. But we have not used that freedom responsibly; we have failed to protect the most vulnerable and innocent in our society from a violent death. Today we mourn a shameful anniversary that has made possible the extermination of the lives of a quarter of our generation, but these deaths have no Remembrance Day. They largely go unnoticed and unmourned and, even more horrific, the slaughter continues day after day.

Ours is a generation of survivors. We, the remaining 75%, made it out alive – though some more narrowly than others. I have worked with students whose parents chose life when facing pressure to abort and others whose parents aborted their siblings. Many of us are probably unaware of the twisted legacy abortion has carved in the branches of our family trees.

Dr. Morgentaler’s oft-repeated mantra – still used on every Morgentaler clinic website – is: Every mother a willing mother. Every child a wanted child. This must make us, I suppose, the “wanted” generation that Morgentaler spoke of. Our parents could have aborted us if they had wanted. They were given, in neo-Roman fashion, the power of life or death over their children – death that was, of course, sanitized, state-sanctioned, and even funded by the public’s own tax dollars.

Abortion on demand, made possible through the Supreme Court’s ruling 25 years ago, changed our society with ‘wantedness’ determining whether we live or die for the first nine months of our lives. Yet we do not choose life or death for born humans according to whether or not they are ‘wanted’ or ‘unwanted’. The thought of classifying human beings in such a manner is profoundly disturbing – or ought to be.

When my own grandmother was pregnant with my father in the 1950s she did not decide to go forward with it based on whether or not he was wanted. (What decision would she have made, I have to wonder, if abortion on demand had been offered to her?) She carried a new life within her and looked out for his best interest by deciding to have my father adopted and raised by a couple who wanted a child. Despite Dr. Morgentaler’s classification of children as ‘wanted’ or ‘unwanted’, the fact is that children are children regardless of how we feel about their arrival. What is up to us is how we treat them.

Those of us who survived now have the opportunity and the obligation to secure the freedom of the next generation. We grew up in the shadow of R. v. Morgentaler with one quarter of our generation missing, but we are now capable young adults: we cannot abandon the next generation to such a fate. Twenty-five years of R. v. Morgentaler is twenty-five years too long. This culture of abortion on demand may be a stubborn shadow, but we can cast it out if we shine all the brighter with the light of truth, love and life.

Blaise2014Meme

 

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Morgentaler & My Generation

By Rebecca Richmond, NCLN Executive Director

Recommit ourselves to a legacy of life - Copy small

 I should not have been looking at my phone as I walked down the stairs, for I nearly slipped and fell when a text message popped up on my screen: “Morgentaler died.”

My heart dropped.  As long as there is life, there is hope, and I sincerely hoped that Henry Morgentaler, Canada’s most prominent abortionist and abortion advocate, would experience repentance and conversion.  I held onto that hope because of what it would mean for the cause of life in Canada, but also for the sake of his own life and soul.

 I was shaken.  Morgentaler has always been a larger-than-life figure and often on my mind.  His biography sits on my bookshelf and, every time I see it, I recall the stories of his life that I read in those pages: the activist upbringing, the suffering of the Holocaust, his complicated relationships with women, his imprisonment, the Supreme Court decision, and the expansion of his clinics.  He remains an icon for abortion in Canada and the builder of a dark and blood-stained legacy that lives on, though he does not.

Like the rest of my generation, I  grew up in the shadow of the 1988 R. v. Morgentaler decision. The 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court case this past January 28th was a personal one for us.  It has defined us as survivors for, in a quarter century, a quarter of our generation has been wiped out by abortion.

We, as young people, have never known our nation without the dark shadow of abortion and the decision that allowed that shadow to persist.  We have never known Canada without Morgentaler.  He, now, may be gone from this earth, but abortion is not.  

 There has been, as was to be expected, a flurry of activity in the media as everyone weighs in on his legacy.  But let us not forget that unrestricted abortion in Canada has been the result of more than Henry Morgentaler.  It is the result of many committed activists, committed financial donors, judges, and politicians; but society is also complicit.  We began to lose in the court of public opinion before we lost in the court of law.

So, for us, Morgentaler’s death must not be simply a time for analysis.  It cannot be a time to sit back and merely approve or condemn his actions.  It must be a time when we recommit ourselves to action and transforming society.  We need to build a legacy of life that goes beyond having convictions and actually ends this injustice.   Being pro-life should be less of a label and more of a lifestyle.  

We have our work cut out for us, but we cannot shrink from the task we face.  A quarter of our generation is dead because of abortion and we cannot and will not abandon the next generation to the same fate.  I have said it before and I will say it again: Twenty-five years of R. v. Morgentaler is twenty-five years too long. This culture of abortion on demand may be a stubborn shadow, but we can cast it out if we shine all the brighter with the light of truth, love and life.

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Growing up in the Shadow of R. v. Morgentaler

By Rebecca Richmond, NCLN Executive Director

Gavin Richmond, 1897-1917
Gavin Richmond, 1897-1917

My great uncle was several years younger than I am now when he died, only one week away from his 20th birthday.  Gavin Richmond’s name is inscribed on the Vimy Ridge Memorial and his life is counted among the 62,820 Canadians who were killed in the First World War.  He was part of a generation decimated by the war.

They fought for our freedom and are rightly commemorated for it. But we have not used that freedom responsibly; we have failed to protect the most vulnerable and innocent in our society from a violent death. Today we mourn a shameful anniversary that has made possible the extermination of the lives of a quarter of our generation, but these deaths have no Remembrance Day. They largely go unnoticed and unmourned and, even more horrific, the slaughter continues day after day.

Ours is a generation of survivors. We, the remaining 75%, made it out alive – though some more narrowly than others. I have worked with students whose parents chose life when facing pressure to abort and others whose parents aborted their siblings. Many of us are probably unaware of the twisted legacy abortion has carved in the branches of our family trees.

Dr. Morgentaler’s oft-repeated mantra – still used on every Morgentaler clinic website – is: Every mother a willing mother. Every child a wanted child. This must make us, I suppose, the “wanted” generation that Morgentaler spoke of. Our parents could have aborted us if they had wanted. They were given, in neo-Roman fashion, the power of life or death over their children – death that was, of course, sanitized, state-sanctioned, and even funded by the public’s own tax dollars.

Abortion on demand, made possible through the Supreme Court’s ruling 25 years ago, changed our society with ‘wantedness’ determining whether we live or die for the first nine months of our lives. Yet we do not choose life or death for born humans according to whether or not they are ‘wanted’ or ‘unwanted’. The thought of classifying human beings in such a manner is profoundly disturbing – or ought to be.

When my own grandmother was pregnant with my father in the 1950s she did not decide to go forward with it based on whether or not he was wanted. (What decision would she have made, I have to wonder, if abortion on demand had been offered to her?) She carried a new life within her and looked out for his best interest by deciding to have my father adopted and raised by a couple who wanted a child. Despite Dr. Morgentaler’s classification of children as ‘wanted’ or ‘unwanted’, the fact is that children are children regardless of how we feel about their arrival. What is up to us is how we treat them.

25 years too long.Those of us who survived now have the opportunity and the obligation to secure the freedom of the next generation. We grew up in the shadow of R. v. Morgentaler with one quarter of our generation missing, but we are now capable young adults: we cannot abandon the next generation to such a fate. Twenty-five years of R. v. Morgentaler is twenty-five years too long. This culture of abortion on demand may be a stubborn shadow, but we can cast it out if we shine all the brighter with the light of truth, love and life.

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uOttawa Students For Life: Marking Anniversaries

This post was written for uOttawa Students For Life by uOttawa Students For Life. It does not necessarily represent the views of NCLN.

by Theresa Stephenson and Marissa Poisson

Today marks the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that legalized abortion.  For Canada, January 28 will be the 23rd anniversary of a similar case, R. v. Morgentaler, in which our Supreme Court struck down the abortion law and left a legal vacuum. The Canadian case was brought by three abortionists, while the American suit was filed on behalf of a woman named Norma McCorvey, alias “Jane Roe.” Her view on abortion may surprise you:

Those two landmark cases in North American history have left a legacy of death and deception. Millions of babies have been killed in clinics and hospitals, and millions of post-abortive women have suffered the aftermath of their child’s death. When we sanction ending a preborn child’s life at any point during pregnancy, are Kermit Gosnell’s crimes not the logical extension of our society’s attitude?

Can two supposed bastions of human rights not do better in terms of respecting the most fundamental of them all? Just imagine how many of our classmates, friends and family members are not with us today because of abortion. It’s up to all of us to work towards making abortion a thing of the past.


Read the comments at the uOttawa Students For Life website.