Dr. Henry Morgentaler Memorial Scholarship announced

On March 19th, 2019, the Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics (OCAC) and Humanist Canada launched the Dr. Henry Morgentaler Memorial Scholarship to assist physicians to gain the skills to perform abortions.

Dr. Morgentaler, a humanist physician, supported a woman’s right to choose. His provision of safe abortion services, his legal challenges to the Supreme Court, and his willingness to go to jail for this right, led to the decriminalization of abortion in Canada. Dr. Morgentaler went on to train many physicians at his clinics. Today, we continue his efforts through the Dr. Henry Morgentaler Memorial Scholarship by supporting the training of physicians to competency in the provision of abortion services. In this way, we honour his memory and continue to promote women’s right to sexual freedom.

“This scholarship recognizes Dr. Morgentaler for his work and sacrifice in the fight for a woman’s right to access safe, fully funded abortions on request,” said Rosemary Warren, a member of OCAC. “In keeping with Dr. Morgentaler’s great interest in training, these funds will assist physicians to become abortion providers and help ensure Canadian women’s right to choose.”

“Humanist Canada is excited to collaborate on this important scholarship with the Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics to continue to protect women’s reproductive rights in Canada as well as advance the humanist and human rights values Dr. Henry Morgentaler stood for, and stands as a testament to, in the national narrative of Canadian society,” Scott Jacobsen, a Board Member of Humanist Canada, stated.

The Dr. Henry Morgentaler Memorial Scholarship is $1,000 awarded on an intermittent basis to a physician intending to become an abortion services provider. The funds will be used for training-to-competency in the skills and techniques to perform abortions. The physician is expected to offer these services in Canada.

About Ontario Coalition of Abortion Clinics (OCAC)

The Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics (OCAC) was started in 1982 by women health care workers from the Immigrant Women’s Health Centre, Hassle Free Clinic, and the Birth Control and VD Information Centre in Toronto. OCAC along with others in the pro-choice movement worked with Dr.Henry Morgentaler to overturn the federal abortion law. In January 1988, the Supreme Court, in its historic Morgentaler decision, decriminalized abortion and broadened access for so many across this country, regardless of class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, or ability. Clinics were opened in many provinces and although there are still battles to be fought, huge advancements were made.

About Humanist Canada

Humanist Canada (HC) promotes education and awareness of Humanism. We are a resource for secular groups and causes across Canada. We support the advancement of scientific, academic, medical and human rights efforts. Humanist Canada’s first president in 1968 was Dr. Henry Morgentaler, an active crusader for women’s right to reproductive choice. Humanist Canada continues to be involved in social justice issues including reproductive choice, the right to die with dignity, and the preservation of human rights.


Approve #RU486now

The Ontario Coalition of Abortion Clinics (OCAC) is petitioning Health Canada to make RU-486 available in Canada.

Sign the petition at Health Canada approve RU-486 now!

RU-486 or Mifepristone, better known as “the abortion pill”, is a safe and effective non-surgical option for terminating early pregnancy. The drug was developed in France and became available in 1988. It used by women in 60 countries, including the US, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. In many countries where RU-486 is available, approximately 50% of women choose this option.

In countries where abortion is legal or decriminalized, medical abortion is an alternative to surgical procedures in the early stages of pregnancy. Medical abortion requires a visit to an accredited clinic or hospital, where an ultrasound determines the gestational age of the fetus. Medical abortion is currently available in Canada up to 7 weeks of gestation, using a combination of methotrexate and misoprostol. RU-486, however, is faster and more effective than the two-pill regime, and can be used up to 9 weeks gestation.

There are no legal restrictions to abortion in Canada but access varies greatly in each province and territory. Approval of RU-486 would provide greater access to abortion in rural and remote parts of Canada, where travel for surgical abortion can be time-consuming, expensive, and can compromise confidentiality. In PEI, one must travel off-island to access abortion. There is only one hospital in Nunavut that performs abortion. RU-486 would also reduce lengthy wait times for surgical abortion in areas of the country where it is available.

Even though it usually takes 9 months for pharmaceuticals to go through Health Canada’s approval process, RU-486 has inexplicably been under review since December 2012. Health Canada has said that it will not be ready to announce its results until Fall 2015.

OCAC is urging Health Canada and Minister of Health Rona Ambrose to approve RU-486 and improve abortion access for women living in Canada. We are also urging federal party leaders to address RU-486 as a wedge issue that affects all Canadians in the lead up to 2015 federal election. Finally, OCAC encourages Liberal leader Justin Trudeau to continue advocating for abortion rights by drawing public attention to how Health Canada is blocking Canadian women’s rightful access to medical abortion.

You can make a difference by signing this petition and tweeting #RU486now to Minister of Health Rona Ambrose @MinRonaAmbrose and federal party leaders in the lead-up to the 2015 federal election: @PMHarper, @JustinTrudeau, @ThomasMulcair, @ElizabethMay.

Take action:  Sign the petition Health Canada approve RU-486 now!

#RU486now  Tweet:  @MinRonaAmbrose, @PMHarper, @JustinTrudeau, @ThomasMulcair, @ElizabethMay


Reproductive Justice: Equal Access Now! September 20, Toronto

Pan-Canadian Day of Action – Reproductive Justice: Equal Access Now! September 20, Toronto

Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) and OCAC held a rally outside Ryerson University as part of a Pan-Canadian Day of Action for Reproductive Justice – Equal Access Now.


Rabble coverage at   http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/johnbon/2014/09/reproductive-justice-activists-call-equal-access-to-canadian-medical-#.VB7SsevOo8g.facebook


Remembering Bob Gardner

This Saturday October 18, 2014 a memorial will take place to celebrate the life of Dr. Bob Gardner. Between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. friends, family, and colleagues will be gathering at the United Steelworkers Hall at 25 Cecil Street.

Read Bob Gardner’s Obituary.

For more information and to sign the guest book, visit Rosar-Morrison Funeral Home & Chapel.

In lieu of flowers, donations are welcome to AIDS Action Now (c/o 102 Salem Ave., Toronto, ON M6H 3C1) or to the Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics (427 Bloor St. West, Box 3, Toronto, ON M5S 1X7).

Very Sad News

It is with great sadness that we learned on Thursday that Bob Gardner, a long-time activist in OCAC, had passed away.

Bob was a leader and stalwart in OCAC and in Aids Action Now. He made a huge contribution to the fight to overturn the federal abortion law, and to stop the recriminalization of abortion. His keen sense of strategy and his tremendous ability to synthesize perspectives helped OCAC produce so many of the briefs and documents that guided our work. His determination, humour and intelligence will be missed terribly.

We mourn his loss, and extend our deepest condolences to his life partner, Linda. And we celebrate his many achievements and contribution by carrying on the struggle that he was so passionate about and committed to – for social justice and true liberation.


A celebration of his life is being planned for early fall. In lieu of flowers, donations are welcome to AIDS Action Now (c/o 102 Salem Avenue, Toronto ON M6H 3C1) or to the Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics * (427 Bloor St. West Box 3, Toronto ON M5S 1X7). Condolences can be sent to funeral home www.rosar-morrison.com.

*Please note that OCAC is unable to take online donations but cheques can be mailed to the address listed above.

We mourn the loss of Dr. Henry Morgentaler


Today we mourn the passing of Dr. Henry Morgentaler, a man of great courage and humanity who bravely fought to advance women’s equality in our society. Across this country there has been an outpouring of support and admiration for Dr. Morgentaler. We offer our heartfelt sympathies to his family and many, many friends. While we mourn today, our task tomorrow is to continue his legacy.

There are individuals who, at certain moments, rise to a challenge at great personal cost – and it makes an incredible difference. Henry Morgentaler did that. If he had not agreed in 1982 to open an abortion clinic in Toronto – a clinic which became a symbol of women’s resistance to an unjust law – we would not have had the historic Supreme Court decision which struck down Canada’s abortion law. It was a mass movement of women and men across the country that made that change, but it was Henry Morgentaler that sparked that movement and the tens of thousands across this country who mobilized against the federal abortion law.

The fight for reproductive justice is far from over.  We need to keep fighting to make sure that women everywhere in this country have full access to free abortion. As we reflect on the incredible role that Dr. Henry Morgentaler played, we honour his legacy and his sacrifice by keeping up the struggle.

25 Years Since the Morgentaler Decision: A Celebration!

An event to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision
that repealed Canada’s abortion law, as well as to recognize
the ongoing struggle for reproductive justice across Canada today.

7:00 p.m.Screen shot 2013-01-17 at 17.06.35
Innis Town Hall
2 Sussex Avenue
(at St. George Street – nearest TTC station: St. George)

With a discussion panel featuring:
• Judy Rebick
• Michele Landsberg
• Carolyn Egan
• Angela Robertson
• Jillian Bardsley

Followed by a screening of The Life and Times of Henry Morgentaler.

$5 donation at the door.

Sponsored by the Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics (OCAC)
Endorsed by Medical Students for Choice UofT and Arts for Choice

Twenty-five years ago, the Supreme Court overturned the federal abortion law in the Morgentaler decision. Canada became one of the few countries in the world without criminal restrictions on abortion access because of the strength of a broad based movement for reproductive justice.

Come hear some of the veterans of that campaign speak of their experiences and what it took to win significant steps forward for women’s liberation in this historic battle with the Canadian state.

Women will also outline the challenges we are facing today with repeated private members motions and bills trying to roll back gains we have made, calls to defund abortion by Conservative MPPs in Ontario, women having to pay for clinic abortions in New Brunswick and a complete lack of services in Prince Edward Island.

Come out and join the movement for reproductive justice and fight the ongoing attack on abortion rights!

October 20th Day of Action! Reproductive Justice for all!

Pro choice Canada

Saturday October 20
1 pm
Old City Hall
60 Queen Street West

• Reproductive health care for all, including refugees
• Maternal health includes abortion
• Stop the inequity in access
• The right to bear the children we choose to have

We need childcare, decent jobs and other support services to raise our children.
Women in PEI have no access to abortion. Women in New Brunswick have to pay for clinic abortions.
The Conservative government refuses to implement the Canada Health Act to stop these inequities and
MPs continue to introduce anti-abortion private members bills while taking away health care for refugees.
Join this Day of Action and help build the fight for reproductive rights for all!

Organized by the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada and the Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics