To commemorate the 25th anniversary of R v. Morgentlaer on January 28, 2013, we asked, "What does 25 years of choice mean to you?"
"In 1988 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that women have the right to make choices concerning their own reproductive health. I am proud to have played such a pivotal role in that decision. I also believe that the world is a kinder, gentler place for women in Canada because they do have the right to make choices."
-- Dr. Henry Morgentaler; Keynote Address delivered at the 20th Anniversary of R v. Morgentaler Symposium January 28, 2008 co-hosted by NAFRead more
"For 25 years Canada has remained a democracy which pays more than lip service to women's rights. Reproductive freedom is critical to equality rights and as the Canadian experience has shown since the Morgentaler case in 1988 a lack of a criminal prohibition hanging over the abortion decision neither disturbs nor has a disruptive effect on the body politic. Americans should follow suit."
-- Morris Manning, Q.C., C.S., J.D.; defense counsel in R v. Morgentaler
"25 years of choice has been like a boarding pass for a nonstop flight to a happy life."
-- Heather Mallick, Toronto Star columnist
"In the last 25 years, the lives and health of countless Canadian women have been protected because of access to safe, legal abortion care. The Morgentaler decision rightly removed the government from private medical decisions and is a human rights victory for women. As a result of this decision, today women across Canada are able to fully participate in society and safely terminate an unwanted pregnancy with the dignity and respect they deserve."
-- Vicki Saporta; President and CEO, NAF Canada
"Generations of women fought for the right for reproductive choice. For 25 years a generation of women have had that right. We have to fight to make sure that future generations of women continue to have this fundamental right."
-- Niki Ashton, MP; Churchill, MB
"It's been 25 years since we've had to worry about women dying trying to terminate an unplanned pregnancy. Women have been seeking abortions for as long as they've been getting pregnant. Society has the responsibility to make sure they don't die because of that choice. Thank you Dr. Morgentaler."
-- Dr. Carolyn Bennett, MP; Toronto, ON
"The 25th Anniversary of the Morgentaler decision brings memories of my experiences on a Parliamentary Delegation to Haiti last year. In Haiti women do not have the right to choose, and I visited a hospital ward filled with dozens of women suffering from severe and possibly fatal complications from illegal abortions.
Thanks to brave pioneers like Dr. Morgentaler, Canadians recognise that reproductive matters like termination of pregnancy are a public health issue. I celebrate the reproductive sovereignty and choice that every woman in Canada possesses today."
-- Joyce Murray, MP; Candidate for Leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada; Vancouver, BC
"I am most grateful that the historic Morgentaler decision 25 years ago means women can no longer be bullied by the arbitrary decisions of those who would deny women the right to choose. Denial of choice is a denial of the right of a woman to determine her own future, her own reproductive health and her own security of person. No woman anywhere in the world should ever be held ransom by those with the power to withhold these most basic of human rights. As a community we must defend the right to choose."
-- Irene Mathyssen, MP; London, ON
"25 years of choice has contributed to women's ability to live according to their own priorities and aspirations."
-- Rebecca Cook; Professor Emerita, Faculty Chair in International Human Rights & Co-Director, International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Programme
"25 years of choice means that physicians should no longer have to experience the horror that I felt when called to the Emergency department to find my patient-the mother of a nine month old child- dead as the result of a botched illegal abortion."
-- Dr. May Cohen; Professor emeritus, McMaster University; Hamilton, ON
"This was a remarkable victory for women in Canada, and we have proven over the past 25 years that government has no role to play in the reproductive decisions women make."
-- Celia Posyniak; Kensington Clinic; Calgary, AB
"Every day I see women who are making the difficult choice about ending their pregnancy. Since the Morgantaler decision to legalize abortion, women in Canada have felt safe, supported and empowered to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. I see the positive impact this has allowed in my practice."
-- Dr. Ellen Wiebe; Willow Women's Clinic; Vancouver, BC
"It means that a woman no longer has to justify to anyone, other than her own conscious, why she is living the life she wants to."
-- Dr. Konia J. Trouton; Vancouver Island Women's Clinic
"Women must be free to live in a world where every child is a wanted child."
-- Clayton Ruby, C.M.B.A., LL.B., LL.M., LL.D. (honoris causa); Toronto, ON
"25 years of choice in Canada means abortion has been legal for my whole life. It also means I want to contribute so that my children will also live in a time and place where abortion is safe and legal, as a medical procedure should be."
-- Sarah Burke via
"It's great to live in a country that respects women's rights and equality under the law, which must include access to fully-funded abortion on request. Of course, the law is only one aspect, but it has huge symbolic significance and makes it easier to work on improving access and reducing stigma. Congratulations to Canadian women and to Canada!"
-- Joyce Arthur; Vancouver, BC
"25 years of choice is 25 years of Health, Respect, Autonomy and Freedom! I believe that having the choice to continue or to stop a pregnancy is essential to women and their families' health. Not only it maintains their health, but also their equilibrium. Becoming pregnant is a happy event in a woman's life. When it is not, choosing to stop a pregnancy is a sign of courage, social responsibility and altruism."
"25 ans de choix, c'est 25 ans de Sante, de Respect, d'Autonomie et de Liberte. Je crois qu'avoir le choix de continuer ou d'interrompre une grossesse est essentiel pour la sante des femmes et de leur famille. Non seulement cela preserve leur sante, mais cela maintient leur equilibre. Devenir enceinte est un moment heureux dans la vie d'une femme. Lorsque ce n'est pas le cas, choisir d'interrompre une grossesse est un signe de courage, de responsabilite sociale et d'altruisme."
-- Edith Guilbert MD, MSc; Senior medical advisor, National Institute of Public Health of Quebec, Quebec Assistant clinical professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecolgy, Laval University, Quebec.
"While we celebrate 25 years of abortion peace in Canada, we must never forget that oppression of women exists in various forms throughout the world The struggle will continue for far into the future."
-- Ted M. Busheikin, MD; Calgary, AB
"January 28th, 1988 is a day that every citizen in our country should remember and treasure.
On that day Canada finally acknowledged that female citizens are not only persons with political autonomy as declared in 1929 but they are actually full and equal human beings with the same personal autonomy as male citizens.
On that day Canada acknowledged that the only difference between male and female citizens is that females have the "capacity" to reproduce. Women, the Supreme Court acknowledged, do not have the "duty" to reproduce.
On that day Canada acknowledged the importance of reproductive freedom for female citizens. Since that day the Canadian State cannot compel a woman to have a baby. Since that day the Canadian State cannot compel a woman to have an abortion.
The Supreme Court 1988 Morgentaler decision protects the personal autonomy and equality of every single woman in Canada regardless of her religious, political or philosophical views."
-- Maria Corsillo; The Scott Clinic; Toronto, ON