Canada recently took a major step towards legalising assisted suicide.
In April 2016, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced legislation to legalise assisted suicide. The proposed law would allow citizens and residents with a “serious and incurable illness” which has brought them “enduring physical or psychological suffering” to end their own lives with the help of a doctor or nurse to administer the lethal dose. If the bill passes, Canada will join a handful of countries where assisted-suicide is legal.
Tragically, this is the logical outworking of a culture of death which has been institutionalised in the Canadian political and healthcare systems over the last four decades. It is estimated that four million Canadians have been aborted since 1969. Today, 280 Canadians are aborted every day. Funded by tax-dollars, babies can be aborted until birth.
Canada is one of only four countries in the world that has no law restricting abortion. The other countries are China, North Korea and Vietnam, making it the only democracy where abortion can be performed on demand. Abortion became easily available in 1969. Although limited to hospitals, abortion was available when approved by three doctors. These doctors rarely denied a woman an abortion.
Canada’s pro-abortion campaign was led by Henry Morgentaler, a Polish-born doctor who survived the Dachau concentration camp during the Second World War. After the war, he emigrated to Canada where he became a pro-abortion activist. In 1969 he opened an illegal abortion clinic in Montreal, in defiance of abortion law. Over a period of several years, he was arrested, charged, found innocent then found guilty on appeal. Three times. Eventually, the Quebec government turned a blind eye to his illegal abortions.
Morgentaler persistently challenged abortion laws, opening abortion clinics across Canada. After being charged with performing illegal abortions in Toronto, Morgentaler fought all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. In 1988, the Supreme Court struck down Canada’s abortion law, eliminating all legal restrictions on abortion. Since 1988, no bills proposing new abortion laws have passed.
Morgentaler almost single handedly overturned the limited legal protection for the unborn in Canada. This was against the background of little or no popular support for abortion on demand. In contrast, pro-lifers collected one million signatures on a petition opposing abortion, and presented it to Prime Minister Trudeau. It was the biggest petition in Canadian history. Disappointingly, it failed to lead to any legislative change.
The active and valiant pro-lifers have had some success. For example in the 1970s and 1980s pro-lifers were elected to hospital boards, and some managed to stop abortions being performed in the hospital. However, pro-lifers are engaged in a David and Goliath battle, and ranged against them is the combined might and wealth of Big Abortion, political and media establishments and, most macabrely, most parts of the “healthcare” industry.
Morgentaler has received several awards for his commitment to women’s health care, his influence on public policy and his leadership in humanist and civil liberties. In 1975, he was named “Humanist of the Year” alongside The Feminine Mystique author Betty Friedan. In 2008, Morgentaler was awarded Canada’s highest honour, and was named a member of the Order of Canada.
There is a Jewish teaching that says, “he who saves a single life, saves the world”. The battle against the Culture of Death in Canada really is of David and Goliath proportions but, with science, justice and morality on their side, there is hope that the resilient and heroic Canadian pro-lifers will, in time, prevail.