“My whole life, I have been looking for the mother-love that I missed.”
-Dr. Morgentaler, The Globe and Mail, 2003
In his crusade to legalize abortion in Canada, Dr. Morgentaler's anguished life does not deny, but only serves to demonstrate the complex and intricate relationship between a mother and her child—a bond he would later make a living by destroying.
As a young Jewish boy growing up in Poland during WWII, he became convinced that his mother loved his younger brother more. These feelings of rejection only amplified when he was exiled in the infamous internment camp of Auschwitz, the place where his mother was murdered. For five years, he struggled against the atrocities of the Nazis beneath the watchful sign, “Arbeit Macht Frei” (translated: “Work will set you Free”)—a euphemism concealing the fact that the prisoners were not working towards freedom, but were rather being worked to death in the form of slave labor. Sadly, Dr. Morgentaler would relive this message in his life's work of abortion, procuring the death of a child under the guise of 'reproductive rights' to give 'freedom' to the mother. By victimizing the unborn child, Dr. Morgentaler sadly continued the victimization he faced from the Nazis and the neglect from his mother.
In a sick and twisted defiance of Canada's protection of life laws, Dr. Morgentaler televised himself performing a live abortion on Mother's Day. His flagrant disregard for the law also translated into a profound disrespect and mistrust of women. Championed as a “woman’s rights” advocate, he was at the same time known for having multiple extra-marital affairs.
His rationale for supporting abortion as a professed humanist: “If I help women to have babies at a time when they can give love and affection, they will not grow up to be rapists or murders. They will not build concentration camps.” Yet, although he did not experience the “love and affection” he wanted from his mother and grew up during a horrendous time, he could reflect on his life and remark that he was “tremendously satisfied.” He defied his own justification for abortion when he examined his own life.
As Our Lady picks up the pieces of the orphaned three million plus unborn Canadians torn from their mothers' womb in the wake of Dr. Morgentaler's violence, we pray that she cradles him with the same compassion, enabling him to experience the love he never knew—the love of a mother.