OTTAWA – Most Conservatives remained mum or subdued Wednesday in their reactions to the death of Henry Morgentaler, the doctor who fought for access to abortion in Canada.
The Prime Minister’s Office offered a curt “no comment.” Justice Minister Rob Nicholson reminded us the prime minister “will not reopen this debate.” And pro-life MP Mark Warawa cryptically remarked that “hopefully he made things right” before his death.
Minister of Status for Women Rona Ambrose told CBC “he was a big figure in Canadian history and made a huge impact on the nation.”
The Quebec legislature paid tribute to Morgentaler, while NDP status for women critic Niki Ashton called him a tireless defender and Liberal MP Bob Rae said he was a man tremendous determination and tremendous courage.
But on Thursday night, the office of Saskatoon Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott issued a somewhat-more critical press release.
“Canada’s leading abortion activist, Henry Morgentaler, whose activism and civil disobedience introduced Canada to abortion on demand, died Wednesday,” the statement begins.
“In the wake of his death, Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin) reviews the harm that abortion has inflicted on countless thousands of Canadian women.”
The release goes on to list the “physical complications” of abortion: breast cancer, cervical lacerations and injury, uterine perforations, bleeding, hemorrhage, serious infection, pain, and incomplete abortion.
It discusses “placenta previa” – the improper implantation of the placenta, in future pregnancies. It lists the psychological harms linked to abortion including increased risks of major depression, anxiety disorder, suicidal behaviors and suicide, and substance abuse and dependence.
“The pregnant women who get assaulted by their boyfriends, lovers and husbands because they refuse to get an abortion are among the often silent victims of Morgentaler’s unrestricted abortion regime. These women have been harmed immeasurably by Morgentaler’s unrestricted abortion regime,” it reads.
“Victims of sexual assault who are dragged to abortion mills by their abusers or pimps when pregnant cannot count on abortion providers to report these cases of suspected sexual assault. Many of these victims of sexual assault are minors. These women have been harmed immeasurably by Morgentaler’s unrestricted abortion regime.”
The release concludes with more than a dozen links to articles and anti-abortion websites.
I guess not everyone in the Conservative caucus is sending their condolences.