TORONTO, May 31, 2013 /CNW/ - "It is with great sadness that we mark the
passing of Dr. Henry Morgentaler," said CAW President Ken Lewenza.
Dr. Morgentaler, a champion for women's rights and a friend to the
labour movement, who was instrumental in advancing the cause for a
woman's right to choose, changed Canadian law and saved thousands of
"Dr. Morgentaler's passing is a loss for Canada," Lewenza said. "His
determination to challenge unjust anti-abortion laws inspires me to
stand up against other injustices in society. It is vitally important
for men to speak up for a woman's right to control her own body."
"It took courageous women along with Dr. Morgentaler to change the law
that restricted women's access to safe abortions," said Julie White,
Director of the CAW Women's Programs. "His lifetime commitment to this
struggle will continue to inspire us to fight for reproductive rights
for all women."
White said this must include addressing the lack of access for poor
women, rural women, low income women, marginalized women and women of
colour from accessing abortions.
The CAW has a long history of commitment to women's reproductive
rights. Many CAW Locals were instrumental in supporting Dr.
Morgentaler when he was criminally charged in 1970. Cliff Pilkey, the
late former Ontario Federation of Labour president and former CAW Local
222 president, spoke forcefully in favour of an historic motion brought
to the 1982 OFL convention supporting action to legalize abortion.
These acts of solidarity were turning points in the labour movement,
entrenching the connection between labour and the fight for women's
Despite the gains made as a result of Dr. Morgentaler's brave work,
these rights are constantly under attack. Several private members bills
have been presented to parliament by Conservative MPs in recent years,
including the controversial bill M-312 in 2012. The CAW responded
immediately to the proposed bill urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper
to live up to his word and uphold a women's right to a legal abortion.
"We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Dr. Morgentaler and the women who
took on this struggle before us. In his absence we must be vigilant in
protecting these hard won gains and continue his work with passion,"
SOURCE: Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW)
For further information:
Julie White, Director of CAW Women's Programs (cell) 519-860-7015