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.