By Terry Vanderheyden

MONTREAL, January 17, 2006 ( – Abortion campaigner Henry Morgentaler warned voters Monday not to vote Conservative if they want to see abortion remain legal in Canada.

“I don’t trust the Conservative party and I don’t think women in Canada or people who love women in this country should trust the Conservative party as far as abortion rights are concerned,” he said, as reported by the Canadian Press. Morgentaler’s comments appeared on the front page of the Globe and Mail national newspaper.

Morgentaler described Conservative Leader Steven Harper’s pledge to keep abortion legal as a “tactical manoeuvre, a good manoeuvre,” to help him get elected. “Maybe he’ll do this for a year or two,” he added, warning that the issue will likely emerge in the form of a private members bill. “There might be a private member’s bill that the government could accept. Then they’ll push it through there,” he said.

“There are many people in the higher echelons of the Conservative party who are terribly anti-choice,” Morgentaler cautioned. “The front rank of the Conservative Party is chock full of people who are violently opposed to the rights of abortion, like Stockwell Day and similar guys, who will put pressure on Mr. Harper to reopen the issue.”

Morgentaler called for “a commitment from all the parties that they will not touch the abortion issue and that they will not re-criminalize abortion.”

Campaign Life Coalition National President Jim Hughes told that he was compelled to laugh when he saw the comments. “Morgentaler loves to get his face in the media,” he said. “His comments won’t have any impact whatsoever” on voters, however, Hughes emphasized. “He’s reached the point where people dismiss him every time he opens his mouth.”

Morgentaler spoke to the media after testifying at a class-action lawsuit launched in Quebec that seeks to force the province to pay for abortions committed in private clinics. He told a Quebec Superior Court judge that for the province to not pay for private abortions would be “criminal.”