Democracy On Trial: The Morgentaler Affair (1984)

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This film recounts the story of Dr. Henry Morgentaler, a Jewish Holocaust survivor doctor who became inspired to fight for the right of women to have the legal option of a safe abortion in Canada. Working in defiance of the law, Dr. Morgentaler becomes a major underground abortion provider referred to by major hospitals in Montreal before political pressure forced the police to raid his clinic and arrest him. At his trial, Dr. Morgentaler convinced a jury about the necessity of his work to get acquitted and struck a blow against the abortion prohibition. However, the Appellant court, in defiance of international precedent concerning the British model legal system, bluntly overruled the jury decision and convicted Dr. Morgentaler without so much as a re-trial. This film covers the Doctor’s resulting legal and political fight to affirm the right of not only to provide safe abortions, but also the right for a Canadian citizen through civil disobedience and legal proceeding to challenge the validity of a law passed by Parliament.

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