Dr. Henry Morgentaler died yesterday at age 90. He was the Canadian doctor who helped change abortion laws in Canada. I won’t go into too much detail about Dr. Morgentaler other than to say that in my opinion he was a hero of true courage. If you’d like to read more about Dr. Morgentaler, I have included some links at the bottom of this post.
My great grandmother died attempting to give herself an abortion. My grandmother and great aunt came home from school at lunchtime to find the door to their house locked. When they got their father from his workshop, he went in to the house, returned to tell the girls; “Your mother is very sick. Go to the neighbours and get some brandy.” During this time, he retrieved my great grandmother from the bathroom and placed her gently into their bed. As well as my great grandfather, my great grandmother left behind two young daughters and a son.
I often wonder if this defining moment in my grandmother’s life transformed the type of person and specifically type of mother she would become.
I am thankful for Dr. Morgentaler’s belief that women should have the power to make responsible decisions and fought to give them the choice that my great grandmother never had.