Peter Baklinski

Morgentaler Decision turns 25: a ‘day of shame for Canada’

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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OTTAWA, Ontario, 28 January, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Imagine if someone were to take one Loonie (a Canadian dollar coin) for every one of the 2.6 million abortions in Canada since 1988 and place them, one after another, along a stretch of highway. There would be a mind-boggling 70 kilometers of coins, about 43.5 miles. If someone were to add to this the number of abortions since 1969, when the deadly procedure was first decriminalized, over 3.4 million coins would line 90 kilometers of highway, about 56 miles.

January 28, 2013 marks the 25-year anniversary of the Morgentaler Decision. On this day in 1988, the Supreme Court of Canada 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.

The passage of the 1969 “Omnibus Bill”, remembered by pro-lifers as Canada’s “Day of Infamy,” let loose the floodgates of legal abortion in Canada, practically allowing abortion-on-demand. The 1988 Morgentaler Decision then opened the floodgates of abortion on-demand to their maximum capacity. 

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.

Nine years after the decision, the number of abortions in Canada increased by a staggering 53.4%.

Jim Hughes, President of Campaign Life Coalition, called the anniversary a “day of shame for Canada”.

"As a global leader in human rights, it’s a disgrace that for the last 25 years, this country’s government has neglected to put an end to the greatest human rights violation of our time, the killing of children before birth,” he said in a press release.

Canadian women speak out against the decision

Stephanie Gray, executive director of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, called the anniversary a “solemn day that impacts every Canadian.” She said Canadians have “failed miserably to live up to the standards of our Constitution,” which guarantees everyone a right to life, including the “youngest of our kind”.

“Due to R. v. Morgentaler, our streets are emptier, our pre-born brothers and sisters live tenuously in a state of constant danger, and a generation of girls has been sold the insidious lie that their sons and daughters are disposable for any arbitrary reason at all,” she told LifeSiteNews (LSN). 

Andrea Mrozek, manager of research at Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, called the anniversary a day to “mourn the sorrow and pain Morgentaler caused [to women] precisely because the decision made abortion mainstream.”

“Morgentaler chose to ‘treat’ a woman’s suffering with the death of her unborn child,” she told LSN.

Faye Sonier, legal counsel for The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, said that the Morgentaler decision “robbed Canada of part of itself. 

Jakki Jeffs, executive director or Alliance for Life Ontario, remembers clearly the day she learned that the Supreme Court had struck down existing abortion laws.

“That call stopped the baking, stopped the family chatter, stopped me in my tracks, I could not believe the Court would abandon Canada’s little ones,” she said.

Canada’s ‘Father of Abortion’

Dr. Henry Morgentaler, a militant atheist, has been referred to as ‘Canada’s Father of Abortion’. Pro-life advocates have pointed out that Morgentaler, more than any other single person, is responsible for the current legal vacuum that every unborn baby in the country faces.

Morgentaler, approaching 90, is 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.

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By 1973, Morgentaler claimed to have performed over 5000 illegal abortions. Numerous attempts to bring him to justice before the law proved futile since mounting public sentiment was on 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.

In 1988, the Supreme Court ruled in Morgentaler’s favor, striking down the existing abortion law for procedural reasons on the grounds that such law threatened a women’s “security of person,” which is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Supreme Court Justices allegedly removed all restrictions on abortion without considering available evidence at the time that the life in a mother’s womb is not ‘her own body’, but a unique unrepeatable human being.

Pro-life advocates have pointed out that 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 in fact left the “abortion question” to Parliament to “pronounce on and to direct social policy”.

While the decision encouraged Parliament to enact a new law governing abortion, Canada remains lawless regarding abortion to this day, despite a controversial attempt in 1989 to legislate on abortion during the Mulroney Progressive Conservative government. Pro-life organizations around the country saw Bill C-43 as a phony effort to legislate on abortion that would offer no real protection to human life in the womb.

For his work in securing legal abortion on-demand for Canadian women, Morgentaler was awarded the Order of Canada in 2008.

Pro-lifers will ‘press on’

Jakki Jeffs reflected on the up-hill struggle the pro-life movement has faced in the past 25 years to “engage the whole of this country in a debate”.

“What we have done is constantly and consistently raised our voices against the slaughter, continued to prick the conscience of this great nation, be a thorn in the side of her politicians and a challenge to the medical profession and pro-abortion advocates,” she said. 

Jeffs criticized the “moral and ethical cowardice” of many Canadian doctors who place women and their offspring into “abortion harm’s way” by remaining “content to confirm the belief in the public eye that children before birth are a part of their mothers, like a toe or a fingernail.”

Despite the uphill struggle in winning public opinion to favor new life in the womb, Jeffs remains determined to fight on behalf of those who have no voice.

“Our voice will continue to shout out a challenge,” she said. “Our efforts will provide support and options. Our activities will remind Canadians that we really are all created equal before and under the law until they get it and stop the killing.”

Stephanie Gray, agreeing with Jeffs, said that pro-lifers must keep-up the pressure in the fight for the right-to-life of pre-born children.

“January 28 is a reminder that we in the pro-life movement have not yet earned the right to rest, not as long as pre-born children are being tortured to death across our country every day.”

“On January 28 we reflect. And on January 29, we press on,” she said.

Andrea Mrozek believes that more and more women are beginning to distance themselves from abortion.

“For every feminist out there who claims ‘abortion is a woman’s right’ I will rise up forcefully to declare they do not represent me.”

A 2011 Environics poll showed that 72% of Canadians want legal protection for children in the womb, with 28% supporting protections from conception. 

Mrozek said that many Canadians, including a growing number of women, are becoming emboldened to make their views against abortion public.

“The anniversary of the Morgentaler decision is a sombre occasion but a reminder to keep on fighting,” she said. 

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PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received more than $400 million in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

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"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

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If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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