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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Are you praying for the upcoming Synod on the Family? You should be, and here’s why

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By John-Henry Westen

Catholics, and all Christians who value family values, should be praying earnestly for the Catholic Church as a struggle over critical family issues is coming to a head in the run-up to the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, which takes place October 5-19. 

Augmenting the concerns is the fact that some of the cardinals closest to Pope Francis himself are increasingly in public disagreement over crucial matters related to faith and family. For some, the concerns reach right to the pope himself.

While Synod preparations have been going on for a year, Sunday’s weddings of 20 couples in St. Peter’s Basilica by Pope Francis presented a figurative, and perhaps foreboding launch.

In a press release prior to the ceremony, the Rome diocese inexplicably went out of its way to highlight the fact that some of couples the pope was going to marry were cohabiting. "Those who will get married Sunday are couples like many others,” it said. “There are those who are already cohabitating; who already have children.”

Unsurprisingly, the mainstream press took the bait and seized upon this statement to run headline after headline pushing the confusing notion that the event was a prelude to, or evidence of, a change in Church teaching on marriage.

Headlines like: 

All I can do is pray that the public fallout from these wedding ceremonies does not foreshadow the public outcome of the Synod. If so, we could be headed for a tragedy akin to the tragedy of the late sixties when, despite the proclamation of the truth of Humanae Vitae against contraception, the effect among ordinary Catholics was a near universal rejection of the teaching in practice.

What to expect at the Synod

The official list of those taking part in the Synod includes 114 presidents of Bishops’ Conferences, 13 heads of Eastern Catholic Churches sui iuris, 25 heads of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, nine members of the Ordinary Council for the Secretariat, the Secretary General, the Undersecretary, three religious elected by the Union of Superiors General, 26 members appointed by the Pontiff, eight fraternal delegates, and 38 auditors, among whom are 13 married couples and 16 experts.

You’ve undoubtedly heard of Cardinal Kasper’s intervention at the Consistory of Cardinals earlier this year, in which he laid out a contentious proposal to allow Catholics who have been divorced and then ‘remarried’ outside the Church to receive Communion. 

Since then a bevy of heavy-hitter cardinals have fought that proposal, including:

Today, however, Cardinal Kasper said the “attacks” from these cardinals were not so much directed at him but at Pope Francis, since, claims Kasper, he discussed his intervention with the pope and gained his approval.

The claim has some basis, since the day after Kasper made the proposal, before it was made public, Pope Francis praised it publicly.  According to Vatican Information Service, the Holy Father said:

I read and reread Cardinal Walter Kasper's document and I would like to thank him, as I found it to be a work of profound theology, and also a serene theological reflection. It is pleasant to read serene theology. And I also found what St. Ignacius described as the 'sensus Ecclesiae', love for the Mother Church. ... It did me good, and an idea came to mind – please excuse me, Eminence, if I embarrass you – but my idea was that this is what we call ‘doing theology on one's knees’. Thank you, thank you.

Of note, Vatican correspondent Sébastien Maillard, writing for France’s La Croix, reports today that Pope Francis is “irritated” by the release of a book containing criticisms of the Kasper proposal by five cardinals.

As LifeSiteNews.com reported yesterday, one of those authors, Cardinal Raymond Burke, is being demoted from his headship of the Apostolic Signatura. The only post planned for the 66-year-old cardinal thus far is patron of the Order of Malta. 

Cardinal Burke’s pre-Synod interventions go beyond the divorce and remarriage question and into the matter of homosexuality.  In a recent interview Cardinal Burke gave a clear refutation of the misuse of Pope Francis’ famed ‘Who am I to judge’ quote to justify homosexuality.

While the issue of the Church’s teachings on homosexuality is seldom raised in reference to the Synod, with most of the emphasis being placed on the question of divorce and remarriage, it is mentioned in the working document, or ‘Instrumentum Laboris’, of the Synod.

As with the matter of divorce, no doctrine regarding homosexuality can be changed, but much confusion can still be sown under the auspices of adjustments to “pastoral” practice. Without a clear teaching from the Synod, the effects could be similar to the shift in “pastoral” practice among dissenting clergy after the promulgation of Humanae Vitae, which led to the use of artificial contraception by most Catholics.

Already and for many years there has been de facto broad acceptance of homosexual sexual practices in many Catholic schools, universities and many other institutions, with many staff being active homosexuals in open defiance of Catholic moral teaching.

Regarding the Synod’s deliberations on homosexuality, it does not bode well that one of Pope Francis’ personal appointees to the Synod is retired Cardinal Godfried Danneels.  The selection is remarkable because of Danneels was caught on tape in 2010 urging a victim who had been sexually abused by a bishop-friend of Danneels, to be silent.  Then, only last year Danneels praised as a “positive development” that states were opening up civil marriage to homosexuals.

Then, just this week, as reported on the Rorate Caeli blog, one of the three Synod presidents gave an interview with the leading Brazilian newspaper in which he said that while stable unions between homosexual persons cannot be equated to marriage, the Church has always tried to show respect for such unions.

The statement matches that of another prominent Synod participant, Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, who in 2010 spoke of giving more consideration to ‘the quality’ of homosexual relationships. “We should give more consideration to the quality of homosexual relationships. A stable relationship is certainly better than if someone chooses to be promiscuous,” Schönborn said.

In the end, while there is currently a public battle in the Vatican that is unprecedented in modern history, the faith will not and cannot change.  As faithful Catholics, and Christians, we must cling to the Truths of Christ regarding the family and live them out in our own lives first and foremost.  That is difficult, to be sure, especially in our sex-saturated culture, but with Christ (and only with Him) all things are possible. 

Plead with heaven for the pope and the bishops in the Synod.  LifeSiteNews will be there reporting from Rome, and, with your prayers and support, be of service to those defending truth.

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Poet: I ‘would’ve died’ for my aborted daughter’s ‘right to choose,’ just ‘like she died for mine’ (VIDEO)

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By Ben Johnson

What kind of mother asks her baby to die for her? And what kind of media outlet celebrates that?

To take the second question first, The Huffington Post is promoting a video featuring Scottish “poet” Leyla Josephine, celebrating her decision to abort her daughter. The video, “I Think She Was a She,” was uploaded to YouTube a month ago.

In the video Josephine, decked out in military camouflage, justifies herself in part by saying that she would have been willing to serve as a sacrifice to abortion just as she offered her daughter to the idol of “choice.”

“I would’ve supported her right to choose – to choose a life for herself, a path for herself. I would’ve died for that right like she died for mine,” she said.

In the next rhyming line, she addresses her unborn daughter: “I’m sorry, but you came at the wrong time.”

“I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed," she continues – a phrase she repeats a total of six times. She repeats the phrase "This is my body" three times. (She also takes the Lord's name in vain once.)

In the early part of the video, she describes her belief that her child was a girl and imagines a life where she had given birth to her daughter.

“I know she was a she,” she says. “I would have made sure that there was space on the walls to measure her height,” she adds. “I would have made sure I was a good mother.”

At one point she appears to describe the emotional aftermath of her choice as “a hollowness that feels full, a numbness that feels heavy.”

But she later calls the idea that her child was a girl or a boy “bull---t” and affirms, yet again, she is not ashamed.

This provokes a few observations:

1. If she knew her child's sex, she must have had a late-term abortion. Our gentle, healing restoration is needed in a world marred by so much aggression and anger in the name of political orthodoxy.

2. Fr. Frank Pavone has written, ”Did you ever realize that the same four words that were used by the Lord Jesus to save the world are also used by abortion advocates? 'This is My Body.'” To paraphrase him, he notes the difference. One, by surrendering His life on the Cross, gave life to the world. The abortion industry uses this phrase to impose its will on the bodies of separate, living human beings who have not harmed anyone.

3. The most chilling phrase in the video is her statement, “I would’ve supported her right to choose...I would’ve died for that right like she died for mine.”

First of all, her daughter did not die for the “right to choose.” Her daughter was not sacrificed for the inalienable “good” of keeping abortion-on-demand legal (and, in the UK, taxpayer-subsidized). Politicians are bribed to maintain it; no baby needs to die for it. Josephine's child died because HuffPo's hero of the moment chose not to carry the baby to term and place him/her in the hands of loving adoptive parents who would have cherished her baby – whether it was actually male, female, or intersex.

Josephine describes the emotions that actually led to the abortion only metaphorically – e.g., she compares the abortion to chopping down a cherry tree – but that angst is the root (so to speak) of the abortion, not the great and grand cause of assuring that other women have the right to go through the same soul-crushing grief.

That intimation that her daughter died for “choice” – that she offered her baby as a living sacrifice on the altar of abortion – confirms the darkest rhetoric of the pro-life movement: That for some in the movement, abortion is sometimes regarded as an idol.

And that raises one other, more universally held question: What kind of parent asks his son or daughter to die for the “right” to abortion? Parents are supposed to be the one who sacrificially care for their children, who forsake their own comfort, who do whatever is necessary – even die – to keep their children safe, healthy, and well. Josephine's blithe, “Sorry, but you came at the wrong time” sounds as hollow as a gangland assassin's apology to the family caught in the crossfire of a drive-by shooting. Abortion severs the love that God, or Mother Nature, or evolution, or whatever you choose to believe in placed within every pregnant woman to link the mother to her child.

The abortion lobby's rhetoric, which increasingly disregards the value of unborn life, is untethered by the bonds of human compassion, is fundamentally selfish and cold-blooded, and lacks a sense of humanity and brotherhood to the point of obliterating maternal love itself.

“Will a woman forget her child, so as not to have compassion upon the offspring of her womb?” God asks through the prophet Isaiah. “But if a woman should even forget these, yet I will not forget thee, saith the Lord.”

The pro-life movement exists precisely to set this upside-down order aright, to reinstate the natural love and compassion everyone should have for all of God's creation – most especially that between a mother and the innocent child she has helped create and fashion with her own DNA.

Cross-posted at TheRightsWriter.com.

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Lisa Bourne

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Catholic leaders criticize Cardinal Dolan’s defense of gay group at St. Patrick’s Parade

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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New York Cardinal John O'Connor on the cover of the New York Post on January 11, 1993. http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan defended his decision to serve as grand marshal for the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Wednesday, in the wake of widespread criticism from Catholics after he praised the organizing committee for allowing a homosexual activist group to march.

“If the Parade Committee allowed a group to publicize its advocacy of any actions contrary to Church teaching, I’d object,” Dolan stated in his weekly column. On the contrary, he argued, “The committee’s decision allows a group to publicize its identity, not promote actions contrary to the values of the Church that are such an essential part of Irish culture.”

Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, was not impressed with the cardinal’s argument. This is precisely about publicizing advocacy contrary to Catholic teaching,” he said.

“As a Catholic father I find there is rapidly contracting space where this shameful agenda is not stuck in the faces of my children,” Ruse told LifeSiteNews. “The Church should be protecting our children rather than abetting those who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of innocent souls."

Pat Archbold, a popular blogger at the National Catholic Register and who runs the Creative Minority Report blog, lambasted Dolan for suggesting the embrace and promotion of “gay identity” can be separated from the sin of homosexuality.

“This identity is not a morally-neutral God-given attribute such as male or female, black or white,” he said. “The identity is with the immoral choice to engage in immoral behavior.”

“The best that can be said in this situation is that these people choose to proudly identify themselves with an intrinsic disorder.  But in reality, it is worse than that,” he continued. “The people find their identity and pride in sin.  Either the Cardinal knows this or he doesn't, either way Cardinal Dolan reveals himself unequal to his responsibility as a successor of the Apostles.”

The parade committee changed its longstanding policy on September 3 after decades of pressure from homosexual groups. Upon being announced as the parade’s grand marshal later the same day, Cardinal Dolan said he had no trouble with the decision at all, calling it “wise.”

The organizers had never prohibited any marchers, but did not ban issue-focused banners and signs, whether promoting homosexuality or the pro-life cause.

Cardinal Dolan stated in his column Wednesday that he did not oppose the previous policy.

“This was simply a reasonable policy about banners and public identification, not about the sexual inclinations of participants,” he explained.

“I have been assured that the new group marching is not promoting an agenda contrary to Church teaching,” he said as well, “but simply identifying themselves as ‘Gay people of Irish ancestry.’”

The homosexual activist group that will march is called OUT@NBCUniversal, which describes itself as the employee resource group for LGBT & Straight Ally employees at the media giant.

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The network held the broadcast contract for parade coverage. Reports indicated the contract was about to expire, and that NBC joined in pressuring on parade officials.

Cardinal Dolan conceded in his column there were many thoughtful reasons for criticizing the parade policy change, and noted that he shared some of them.

“While a handful have been less than charitable in their reactions, I must admit that many of you have rather thoughtful reasons for criticizing the committee’s decision,” he said. “You observe that the former policy was fair; you worry that this is but another example of a capitulation to an ‘aggressive Gay agenda,’ which still will not appease their demands; and you wonder if this could make people think the Church no longer has a clear teaching on the nature of human sexuality.” 

However, he said, the most important question he had to ask himself was whether the new policy violated Catholic faith or morals.

In stressing that homosexual actions are sinful while identity is not, Cardinal Dolan said, “Catholic teaching is clear: ‘being Gay’ is not a sin, nor contrary to God’s revealed morals.”

Making opinion paramount, the cardinal offered that the parade committee “tried to be admirably sensitive to Church teaching,” and even though the original policy was not at all unfair, the committee was “realistic in worrying that the public perception was the opposite, no matter how often they tried to explain its coherence and fairness.”

“They worried that the former policy was being interpreted as bias, exclusion, and discrimination against a group in our city,” Cardinal Dolan wrote. “Which, if true, would also be contrary to Church teaching.”

When the decision was announced and Cardinal Dolan named the parade’s grand marshal, Philip Lawler, director of Catholic Culture and editor for Catholic World News, called it a significant advance for homosexual activists, and a significant retreat for the Catholic Church.

Pointing out in his column that the media will be correct to concentrate on that narrative at next March’s event, Lawler identified what he said is almost certain to be the result of the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

“Next year there will be only one story-line of interest to the reporters who cover the annual parade in the world’s media capital: the triumph of the gay activists,” Lawler wrote.

“Photographers will be competing for the one ‘money’ shot: the picture of the contingent from OUT@NBCUniversal marching past the reviewing stand at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, under the benign smile of Cardinal Timothy Dolan.”

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