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May 30, 2013

Remembering Dr. Morgentaler

I do wonder if Baby is hanging on inside partly in order for me to be able to address the life and legacy of Dr. Henry Morgentaler from the point of view of one who has more business thinking and opining on reproductive freedom than any other–a woman with a fetus growing inside her. Though of course we don’t call our baby a fetus, and our fetus/baby is so old (41 weeks!) that she’s actually enrolling at university next week. But it’s true that I never spend more time thinking about abortion rights than when I’m pregnant, particularly because the first time I was ever pregnant, a long time ago, it was access to abortion than handed me my life back. And I don’t know that I was ever more grateful for that as when I finally became a mother years later, on my own terms, on terms that were good and healthy and setting me up for success as a mother, a partner, as a member of a family–as a person, even. For me, the choices I’ve made as a mother and the choice to end my first pregnancy have always gone hand-in-hand, the keys to life as I know it, life as I chose it. And oddly, it was Morgentaler himself who performed my abortion way back when–it has been suggested to me that I hallucinated this happening, and it all was a very heady, blurry time, but I promise it was so. And so upon his death, I remember him as a hero who fought to give Canadian women ownership of their own bodies, but also as a doctor who helped me when I was desperate and everything seemed so dark. Without him, that desperation could have taken me somewhere where I would have been in much deeper trouble. Today I, along with so many other Canadian women who keep quieter about these things, am grateful for his courage.

15 thoughts on “Remembering Dr. Morgentaler”

  1. saleema says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Kerry.

  2. Shelley Wilson says:

    A beautiful story, beautifully written.

  3. Wow. Didn’t see that one coming 😉 xo

  4. Helen says:

    Exactly. Thank you.

  5. Julia says:

    Thanks for saying this, for those of us who are too quiet about it.
    I was a client at his Toronto clinic many years before I was ready for my family, but wasn’t lucky enough to meet him. I got the most compassionate care I have had at any medical facility, except maybe the maison de naissance.
    Best wishes for your VBAC (another experience we share)

  6. Laura says:

    Well said, Kerry.

  7. Carrie says:

    Thank you for sharing, Kerry. You’ve given a generous man a beautiful tribute.

  8. Clare says:

    Thanks, Kerry. Beautiful post.

  9. Beautifully expressed, and brave. Thanks for saying what many of us have experienced at one time or another in our lives, but been afraid to say.

  10. Brad M says:

    This was great, Kerry.

  11. melanie says:

    So well put Kerry – we are truly lucky in this country to be able to make these kind of choices. And so brave of you to share.

  12. Claire says:

    This is a lovely post. Thanks for sharing. And how ironic that the person who did so much for a woman’s right to control her own body was a man.

  13. Nathalie says:

    I’m so glad Baby gave you time to write this.

  14. lovely and brave, like you.

  15. Jude says:

    Thank you. Your story echoes that of hundreds, or more. You said it kindly and eloquently. Thanks for writing this.

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