TORONTO, ON, May 29, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Dr. Henry Morgentaler, a militant atheist and abortionist who has been referred to as ‘Canada’s Father of Abortion,’ died this morning of a heart attack at the age of 90. 

Carolyn Egan, with the Ontario Coalition of Abortion Clinics, told reporters that she spoke with members of Morgentaler’s family, who told her he died peacefully surrounded by family at his Toronto home.

“May God have mercy on his soul,” Jim Hughes, President of Campaign Life Coalition, Canada's largest pro-life organization, told LifeSiteNews.com.

“I have been praying for him daily for more than 20 years,” Hughes said. “He’s caused much damage to men and women who have personally experienced the abortion issue. And he’s certainly done great damage to Canadian society, to the future of the country, with the loss of so many millions of unborn children.”

Morgentaler responsible for abortion-on-demand to 9th month

In addition to personally aborting thousands of children, Morgentaler bears a large portion of the responsibility for the current legal vacuum on abortion that every unborn baby in the country faces.

On January 28 of this year, pro-life activists mourned the 25th year anniversary of the Morgentaler Decision, in which the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favor of the notorious abortionist. The court struck down the few remaining protections still afforded to unborn babies by the 1969 Liberal government’s “Omnibus Bill,” which already permitted abortion under permissive circumstances.

Unlike the 1973 Roe V. Wade of the United States, the 1988 Morgentaler Decision did not give women a constitutional ‘right’ to abortion, but simply declared as ‘unconstitutional’ Section 251 of the Criminal Code that governed abortion. The court left the “abortion question” to Parliament to “pronounce on and to direct social policy.” However, to date Parliament has failed to pass any such abortion-related legislation.

The Morgentaler Decision meant that a pregnant woman could legally terminate the life of her unborn child during all nine months of pregnancy, for any reason whatsoever. The decision placed Canada alongside Communist China in having no legislation whatsoever protecting young human life in a mother’s womb.

Holocaust survivor to birth control pioneer and 'abortion zealot'

Morgentaler was no stranger to brutality. He was incarcerated as a young man at a Nazi concentration camp for his Jewish ancestry. In 1950 Morgentaler immigrated to Canada and practiced medicine. He very soon came to devote his energies to spreading contraception, becoming one of the country’s first doctors to perform vasectomies, insert IUDs, and provide unmarried women with the pill.

By 1973, Morgentaler claimed to have performed over 5000 illegal abortions. Numerous attempts to bring him to justice proved futile since Canada's media and other influential persons and organizations generated mounting public sentiment onto his side. 

Morgentaler was charged in 1983 with performing ‘illegal abortions’ after opening English Canada’s first abortion clinic in Toronto. His case reached the Supreme Court of Canada in 1986. Then, in 1988, the Supreme Court ruled in Morgentaler’s favor.

For his work in securing legal abortion on-demand for Canadian women, Morgentaler was awarded the Order of Canada in 2008. Over 100 Members of Parliament opposed his being named to the Order, and numerous former recipients returned their awards in protest.

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Hughes described Morgentaler as an "abortion zealot," recalling that during their first personal meeting, Morgentaler had told Hughes that he would never succeed in restricting abortion. “You’re never going to succeed. I’ve aborted the mistresses of judges, cabinet ministers, and cops,” the pro-life leader remembers Morgentaler telling him.

However, Hughes also said that Morgentaler's position on abortion appears to have changed over the years. The last time Hughes spoke with the abortionist, he had asked Morgentaler to join a joint conference call denouncing late-term abortions. While the abortionist declined the invitation, he had showed signs of moving away from his earlier strident position on this issue when in 2004 he decried late-term abortions saying, "We don't abort babies, we want to abort fetuses before they become babies. Around 24 weeks I have ethical problems doing that.” Even in the case of severe fetal defects or teenage pregnancies, Morgentaler said that his clinics "usually counsel the woman to continue the pregnancy and put it up for adoption if she is unable to care for it."

Hughes said that he "saw some growth in the man over the years," and recalls that the last time they spoke, Morgentaler "thanked me for the way I had treated him when we had met personally."

On one occasion Hughes remembers dining in a restaurant and seeing Morgentaler eating at a nearby table. Hughes approached Morgentaler and told him that he was still praying for him regularly. The abortionist thanked the pro-life activist.

Morgentaler: 'My whole life has been devoted to doing things to get me the love of women'

Morgentaler is well known for being a philanderer, having been married three times, and having had affairs with many other women while married. "I’d say my whole life has been devoted to doing things to get me the love of women," the abortionist candidly admitted in one clip from a deeply personal interview that aired on CBC in 2008. 

When asked why he has had so many relationships over the years, Morgentaler - who told interviewer Evan Solomon later in the interview that he has been receiving Freudian therapy for "a long time" - responded: "What explains it is my inordinate need to be loved by women.

"Some time along my emotional development," he continued, "I got the impression that my mother didn’t love me, because there was a younger baby that she devoted a lot of attention to, which happens in many families I guess. I personally believe that she neglected me and that she didn’t love me. So, to be loved by women was emotionally to me very important."

This past March Canadian pro-lifers were encouraged to pray for Morgentaler’s conversion.

“This is the end of an era and we hope that our country can now turn a necessary corner and find the courage to restore protection to all human beings, born and pre-born,” said Mary Ellen Douglas, National Organizer of Campaign Life Coalition. “As we wish for both ally and adversary, may God have mercy on his soul.”

Co-authored with John Jalsevac