Henry was found and at the age 22

Henry Morgentaler was born in Lodz Poland on March 19th 1923. He was born during the Poland Jewish holocaust. This was when the Jewish community was being hunted and killed by the Germans at the time Adolf Hitler was in charge. Due to the fact that he was born during the holocaust he did not go to school instead he was sent to a Jewish Ghetto  with the rest of his family where his father was killed. His sister left the Ghetto with her husband before World War 2 started and was killed at the Treblinka extermination camp. When the Germans raided the ghetto with the help of the local police the Morgentaler’s and three other families hid in a room which had the door concealed by a wardrobe. After two days of hiding they were found by the Germans and deported to a concentration camp. The meal that they would get for the day would be very watery soup and some stale bread. He used to steal potato peels from the garbage so he and his brother could eat some more food. Henry bounced around from camp to camp and never saw his mother, or sister again. After the war ended the United States army raided the camp and he was found and at the age 22 he weighed only 70 pounds then was sent to the Displaced Persons Hospital. After his recovery he was sent to the Displaced Persons Camp. In 1947 he went to Brussels, Belgium and rejoined his friends the Rosenfarb. Shortly after he got engaged to Chava Rosenfarb. The couple emigrated from Belgium and settled in Montréal and several months later their first child Goldie was born. Henry Morgentaler attended the school of Université of Montréal where he finished his medical. In 1967 as the president of the Human Fellowship of Montréal he urged the Parliamentary Committee on Health and Welfare to repel its abortion law. After the media published his story many desperate woman were calling him to perform abortions on them. In 1969 Morgentaler devoted his practice to family planning as he performed vasectomies and insert intrauterine devices his practice was mainly for abortions. In between all of this things at his home weren’t going very well. He had a divorce with his wife who later died in 2013. Due to the work that Henry was doing he had to wear a bulletproof vest and put bulletproof window at his home and all of his clinics. The police raided his clinics a lot due to the fact that there was illegal activity going on and the orders were coming from higher then the police stations captain. Morgentaler never fully retired from doing abortions. Once he stopped performing the procedure then he would supervise them as the superior doctor. Even when he retired he didn’t stop fighting for women’s rights he was still a activist and did things so that women could have the power to make decisions about their body and well being. When Morgentaler died in May, 27 2013 a few pro life activist groups were ready to re-open the debate on abortion in Canada. This shows that the debate on abortion was very stressful to Henry.


        Henry Morgentaler opened a General Medicine practice in Montréal. A while later in 1969 he turned his general practice into a full abortion clinic. At his abortion clinic he mainly performed abortions but also did vasectomies and inserted intrauterine devices. Hospitals would give Morgentaler cases of abortions that they wouldn’t be able to do in time. The hospitals had extremely long wait times due to the procedure that they had to follow. In 1973 he performed an abortion on live national television and shortly after his clinic was raided by the police. He went to trial and was found not guilty by the jury for violating section 251 of the criminal code. While doing abortions he was also researching at this clinic he would come up with ideas on how he could perform them with less pain to the patient and how to make them more efficient. A result of his research he came up with the idea of Vacuum Aspiration. He made this idea a reality when he used it on one of his patient’s and it was successful. That’s when he started to use it regularly to perform the procedure known as abortion. This made doing the abortions much faster and they were much easier to perform. Vacuum Aspiration was then later used by a few hospitals and many other abortion clinics. He also started to do research on the law of abortion and started campaigning for them to make the change the law. Another aspect of his research was what happens to children that don’t feel loved as kids and what happens when they become adults. Some of the research that he conducted showed him results were that the children became rapists or murderers once they were adults. So he thought that doing abortions was the right thing even though they were illegal. 

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        Henry was famous for a lot of things. Some are that he stood up for women and saying that they should have the right to have an abortion. Another thing he is famous for is that he stood up against al of the hate that he had received while being an abortion activist and he came up with the surgical procedure of Vacuum Aspiration. The biggest reason he became famous was that he performed an abortion procedure on live national television and was his clinic got raided by the police the next day. Before he went on trial for the abortion on national television he announced that he had done over 5000 abortions. When he went to trial for doing them he did not say that he was not guilty of doing them but instead he tried to persuade the mind of the jureres that he was doing it all for the reason that it was the right thing to do. In some cases if a women got raped and got pregnant with the rapist’s child they would not be allowed to get an abortion. This was what his defence slightly rested on to prove that the law was not right. Also the technique that he has come up with is also one of his big achievements that made him famous. The technique that he came up with is called Vacuum Aspiration, he developed this early in his career as an abortion specialist. This technique is now very widely used used by private clinics and hospital. The way that it works is that a bottle and a pump and a bottle are attached to a thin tube (Cannula) Which provides a gentle vacuum. The cannula is passed through the uterus, then the pump turns on and the flesh is gently removed. But in today’s world the technique may have been slightly changed to be even more efficient and less painful. His last big achievement was the founding the Canadian Abortion Rights Movement. The main purpose of the Abortion rights movement was that they were trying to persuade the government to change the law by holding peaceful protests and by going to court and proving why the law should be changed. This is the reason that he is as famous as he is.


  People implement their ideas in many different ways. Some do it the right way which is going through the process of doing it legally, some do it legally, some bend the rules slightly, but the way that Henry Morgentaler did it was completely different. The way that Morgentaler did it was that he didn’t tell anybody that he was doing it and he worked outside the law to give people the service that many people wanted and could have gotten in the United States. In the beginning he didn’t tell many people that he was doing abortions even his wife didn’t even know and before she found out he divorced her so that she didn’t get charged with criminal charges. At first the only people that knew where the ones who he had performed the procedure for and the person that came with them also including Morgentaler’s lawyer. Who advised him to make sure that the person who is getting the abortion is the only person in the room with him. But being who he was he did not take into consideration what the lawyer said and there were many witnesses who could expose him and make him go to jail for assisted suicide. Another way that  he implemented his idea was letting the whole nation know that he was doing abortions and opening clinics in other cities such as Toronto and Winnipeg. By showing the country and the world that he did what he did and didn’t care about the consequences was not very smart because soon after he opened the clinic in Toronto it was having rocks thrown at it  and the police also raided it very quickly because it was in the country’s tourist attraction city. This was not the best way to show the nation and the world his ideas as their were many other ways that could have stopped him from going to jail. For example he could have gotten help from women groups all over the country to make the supreme court change the law to say that abortions were unconstitutional. This may have taken a longer time but in the end he wouldn’t have had to go to jail and have his clinics raided and thrown rocks at.

     Henry Morgentaler has impacted the world of healthcare tremendously by being an activist for abortion and women empowerment. Being an abortion activist in the time Morgentaler was could have lead to him being murdered because of the riots that were caused due to the fact that he was doing abortions illegally. Since Morgentaler was the president of the Humanist Fellowship of Montréal he urged the Parliamentary Committee of Health and Welfare to repel the law against abortions because him along with many other feminist groups believed that it was already unconstitutional. After going to court in Montréal and being found not guilty for the abortions he performed in Québec the Appeal Court of Canada sentenced him to 18 months in prison. Once they did this there was a lot of support shown to him by feminist groups from all over the country so they released him in 10 months so they could calm down everybody. In addition to this when he was released from prison he went to the supreme court of Canada with his partners that ran the Toronto and Winnipeg clinic to try and convince them to repel the law. They went on the base that it conflicted with rights guaranteed the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The court found that the abortion law violated section 7 of the Charter and as a result of that Canada had no law concerning abortion and wasn’t  governed by federal law but provincial and medical regulations. If Henry didn’t stand up for women and abortion then today women still may not be able to have abortions. Also most of the countries didn’t allow women to have abortions and now all most every country in the world except third world countries women have the right to have one. The way that he changed the healthcare world of the future is that he made it possible for women to get birth control pills which back in Morgentaler’s non abortion time you had to get them prescribed to you from a doctor and it was very hard to convince them to give it to you. Secondly if he didn’t get the government to repeal the law on abortion then maybe today people wouldn’t be allowed to change gender and that would could have possibly have been illegal. If we don’t have people like Morgentaler to stand up for what is right then everything would be heavily influenced by the rich people that live in that specific country. Another way that he changed the future is that people are coming with things that they can use other than abortion to not have babies. As an example condoms are an invention to provide safe sex and make sure that the women doesn’t become pregnant and that there is no transfer of sexually transmitted diseases. 


Henry Morgentaler did a lot of research and with that he came up with many ideas. One of his ideas was Vacuum Aspiration. He came up with this when he was thinking about how to make abortions faster and less painful. Vacuum Aspiration reduces the rate of infection when compared to other types procedures. The rate of infection is only 0.5% while in other surgical procedures is about 5%. Morgentaler’s new procedure only took 15-20 minutes to complete. There are many steps that doctors have to follow but they are quite simple if your a doctor. Firstly they insert a speculum into the vagina and they clean the vagina and cervix with an antiseptic solution. Then they inject a numbing medicine into the cervix. If necessary the doctors will give pain medicines through the mouth or vain which slows the bleeding of the uterine. Once they have done that the lightly clasp the cervix with an instrument to hold the uterus in place. After this then it is almost over now the doctor will open the cervical canal with a small instrument. The reason that they open it is because it reduces the risk of any injury to the the cervix during the procedure. Lastly they pass a thin tube also known as the cannula into the cervical canal, and apply suction to gently remove all the tissue from the uterus. As the uterines tissue is removed the uterus contracts and most women feel cramping during the procedure and once the tube is removed the cramps decrease. After the procedure you should rest for the at least for one day and take all of the medicines that are prescribed from your doctor. In addition to this you are not allowed to have sexual intercourse for at least one week after the abortion and you should use condoms so that there is a lesser chance of infection. Also you should use certain birth control pills right after the procedure to start the cycle.

      The reason that I chose Henry Morgentaler is because what he did for women ended up changing the world. The way that he changed the world was that he stood up for women when many people didn’t. He helped them against the fight over abortions because he felt that women should have the right to the decision for having the baby or for not having the baby. If he didn’t stand up for women at this time then maybe they might not have the choice of having an abortion and the right of making a decision for their own body. Another reason why I chose Morgentaler is because the work that he did is now allowing women all over the world to get abortions done if they feel that it is what they want and is the right thing to do.


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