The Portrait of a Proud Abortionist

The Monday before last, Canada’s National Post published a speech by abortion doctor Garson Romalis on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of R. vs. Morgentaler.

Before I get to the disturbing details, let me offer a little background for the non-Canadian reader.

Dr. Henry Morgentaler, of the infamous case, is a Polish-born Holocaust survivor who moved to Quebec and, 20 years into his medical career, began performing illegal abortions. Until 1988, abortions in Canada could be carried out only at accredited hospitals with approval from the Therapeutic Abortion Committee, under section 251 of Canada’s Criminal Code.

Orthodox. Faithful. Free.

Sign up to get Crisis articles delivered to your inbox daily

Email subscribe inline (#4)

But Morgentaler decided this wasn’t good enough, so in the early 1980s he and two other doctors opened an abortion clinic in downtown Toronto. The stunt was intended to bring national attention to a woman’s right to a “safe” abortion on her own terms. Morgentaler was arrested, and the case ended up in the Canadian Supreme Court.

Three different majority opinions were written, each of which declared the law restricting abortions unconstitutional, and Morgentaler’s conviction was reversed.

Later, a tied vote in the Senate prevented a new abortion law from passing. As a result, Canada actually has no legislation governing abortion.

And that brings us back to Dr. Romalis’s speech.

Titled “Why I Am An Abortion Doctor,” it’s a fine example of evil masked as good. A proud friend of Henry Morgentaler, Romalis believes his work is a heroic service to women and a privilege to practice:

I love my work. I get enormous personal and professional satisfaction out of helping people, and that includes providing safe, comfortable abortions. The people that I work with are extraordinary, and we all feel that we are doing important work, making a real difference in peoples’ lives.

I can take an anxious woman, who is in the biggest trouble she has ever experienced in her life, and by performing a five-minute operation, in comfort and dignity, I can give her back her life.

Romalis’s speech is little more than the tired tale of the compassionate abortion doctor who crusades, suffers — and even comes close to death — all for his tragically pregnant damsels in distress.

It’s hard to know where to begin with an abortion doctor who gushes over his work. When a person believes something profoundly wrong is right, only grace can change his mind. Biological or medical facts — much less the regrets of women who have themselves aborted — don’t break through. And the women who’ve died of legal abortion since R. vs. Morgentaler aren’t around to speak up either.

A doctor who’s long been in an abortion mill surely grows immune to the reality of what he does for a living. But even understanding that, I found this bit unsettling:

I want to tell you one last story that I think epitomizes the satisfaction I get from my privileged work. Some years ago I spoke to a class of University of British Columbia medical students. As I left the classroom, a student followed me out. She said: “Dr. Romalis, you won’t remember me, but you did an abortion on me in 1992. I am a second year medical student now, and if it weren’t for you I wouldn’t be here now.”

Her terrible “choice” underscores the pervasive societal error that pregnancy is a woman’s problem and hers alone to fix. For the woman facing an unexpected pregnancy, she can face the threats of a boyfriend or husband . . . or have an abortion. She can quit her job . . . or have an abortion. She can leave campus and her educational aspirations . . . or have an abortion.

When did this become “choice”?

Dr. Romalis’s patients are victimized twice — first by the “her body, her problem” attitude around her, and second by the medicine man who betrays his Hippocratic oath.

The days of the proud abortion doctor are numbered. Post-abortive women now speak freely about their regrets. Technologically advanced sonogram photos are converting more people to the pro-life cause. And one day, Dr. Romalis and those like him will be seen not as the destroyers they truly are, but as men who left devastation in their wake and called it “help.”



  • Zoe Romanowsky

    Zoe Romanowsky is writer, consultant, and coach. Her articles have appeared in “Catholic Digest,” “Faith & Family,” “National Catholic Register,” “Our Sunday Visitor,” “Urbanite,” “Baltimore Eats,” and Zo

Join the Conversation

in our Telegram Chat

Or find us on

Editor's picks

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00

Orthodox. Faithful. Free.

Signup to receive new Crisis articles daily

Email subscribe stack
Share to...