Henry Morgentaler

Timeline created by Nicholas Deane
  • Born in Łódź, Poland

    Henry Morgentaler was born in Łódź, Poland and he survived the concentration camps.
  • Henry Maried Chava Rosenfarb

    Henry and Chava Rosenfarb got married in Europe in 1949.
  • Henry and his wife "Chava" came to Canada

    Henry and Chava Rosenfarb left Europe February 1950 on S/S "Samaria" sailing to Canada.
  • Graduated from medicine at the University of Montreal

    Upon graduating from medicine at the University of Montreal in 1953 he carried on a general medical practice in Montreal for a number of years until his efforts were focused on performing illegal abortions in his private clinic.
  • Henry Morgentaler helped change the Criminal Code of Canada

    Due to the work of Henry Morgentaler the Criminal Code was changed in 1969 to legalize therapeutic abortions if they were performed in a hospital after approval was granted by a Committee.
  • Henry was arrested in Montreal for performing illegal abortions

    On June 1, 1970, Morgentaler was arrested in Montreal for performing illegal abortions.
  • Henry was acquitted

    He was acquitted at trial in 1973.
  • Henry was convicted

    In 1974 the Quebec Court of Appeal overturned the acquittal, convicted Dr. Mortgentaler and he was imprisoned for ten months. He successfully appealed his conviction and was acquitted again.
  • Named co-recipiemt of the Humanist of the Year

    He was named the co-recipient in 1975 of Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association.
  • Government adopted the Morgentaler Amendment

    In 1975 the Canadian Government changed the law so that courts could not replace an acquittal by a jury with a conviction, but appeal courts could order a new trial. This became known as the Morgentaler Amendment.
  • Morgentaler v. The Queen

    In the case to become known as “Morgentaler v. The Queen”, Dr. Morgentaler challenged unsuccessfully the prohibition against abortions to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1976.
  • Morgentaler charged with performing illegal micarriages

    Dr. Morgentaler and two other Doctors were charged in 1983 for procuring illegal miscarriages. They were acquitted at trial, the decision was reversed on appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeal, a new trial ordered.
  • Supreme Court of Canada declared the abortions provisions unconstitutional

    The Doctors appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada. In 1988 the Supreme Court of Canada overturned the conviction against Dr. Morgentaler. It declared the abortion provisions in the Criminal Code to be unconstitutional, the laws were in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom which was adopted in 1982.
  • Morgentaler charged with performing abortion in a Nova Scotia clinic

    In 1989 Nova Scotia passed legislation prohibiting the operation of abortions in clinics. Dr. Morgentaler was charged under the Provincial legislation for providing an abortion in a clinic.
  • Morgentaler was acquitted at trial and was successful at the Court of Appeal

    At the trial in 1990 he was acquitted on the basis that the legislation was not within provincial jurisdiction as it was an attempt to regulate abortion. The decision was appealed to the Court of Appeal, where it was dismissed.
  • Supreme Court of Canada ruled provincial abortion regulations invalid

    The constitutionality of the provincial legislation was then taken to the Supreme Court of Canada and it ruled that the specific abortion regulations were invalid criminal law and they were struck down. This was Dr. Morgentaler’s third case before the Supreme Court of Canada., known as R. v. Morgentaler, 1993.
  • Received his first honarary degree

    In 2005 he received his first honorary degree, a Doctor of Laws degree, from the University of Western Ontario and he was awarded the Couchiching Award for Public Policy Leadership with respect to his efforts on behalf women’s rights and reproductive health issues.
  • Forced to stop performing abortions after heart bypass

    In 2006, Morgentaler had to stop performing abortions after undergoing a heart bypass surgery. However, he continues to oversee the operation of his six private clinics.
  • First president of the Humanist Association of Canada

    Dr Henry Morgentaler was the first president of the Humanist Association of Canada and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from that Association in 2008.
  • Awarded for Outstanding Service to Humanity

    The Award for Outstanding Service to Humanity was awarded to him in 2008 by the Canadian Labour Congress.
  • Dr. Morgentalor was named to the Order of Canada

    On July 1, 2008 Dr. Morgentaler was named to the Order of Canada in recognition "for his commitment to increased health care options for women, his determined efforts to influence Canadian public policy and his leadership in humanist and civil liberties organizations."
  • Currently

    Henry Morgentaler is 88 years old and continues to challenge provincial abortion regulations.
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    Henry Morgentaler

    Henry Morgentaler is a Canadian physician and prominent pro choice advocate who has fought numerous legal battles for legalizing abortions.