When I heard that Henry Morgentaler had died, my initial response was a hope that he experienced a deathbed conversion.
After all, without repentance, and without Christ as his advocate before God, he will have to face the Almighty alone for the direct killing of thousands of unborn children.
There is an ocean of blood for which Morgentaler must answer to God – the Creator of life.
Morgentaler was the poster boy for abortion in Canada. He was pivotal in the change of public mindset and acceptance of abortion on demand across the nation. He was the darling of Canada's liberal and pro-abortion media.
After Canada's toothless abortion law was struck down in 1988, Morgentaler was quoted as saying, "Women no longer die as a result of abortion. Women no longer get cut or damaged as a result of abortion. Women no longer lose their fertility because of abortion."
Like so many other things Morgentaler said, it was not true. Women still die because of what he would call "safe, legal abortion" and there is extensive documentation of it.
Abortion physically and emotionally scars women.
I remember after Morgentaler started his Edmonton clinic, a prominent obstetrician-gynaecologist told me that the number of women going to hospital emergency rooms with perforated uteruses, hemorrhaging and punctured bowels spiked dramatically.
As for fertility and abortion, it is common knowledge now that many women have difficulties conceiving after abortions, or are unable to conceive. I have met a number of women with this problem. It is a terrible grief for them.
Shortly after Morgentaler's death, MP Maurice Vellacott issued a press release in which he mentioned the myriad of complications so-called "safe, legal abortion" has wrought upon women. Vellacott mentioned physical complications of abortion that include "breast cancer, cervical lacerations and injury, uterine perforations, bleeding, hemorrhage, serious infection, pain, and incomplete abortion."
Those are just the physical complications. Emotional complications include depression, anxiety, flashbacks, guilt and grief, sleeping problems, suicidal behaviours.
Vellacott mentioned many other problems and dedicated part of his press release to the issue of coercion of women by lovers, boyfriends and husbands to abort their babies.
That is the other side of Morgentaler's horrendous legacy which lies beside the slaughter of innocents.
We are left to clean up after Morgentaler. Ministries like Rachel's Vineyard help post-abortive women recover. The ministry's name is taken from St. Matthew's account of Jesus' birth and Herod's slaughter of children in the Bethlehem area.
He quoted Jeremiah: "A voice is heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children and she would not be consoled, since they were no more" (Matthew 2.18). Matthew's quote of Jeremiah 31.15 is the lament of an inconsolable mother but leaves out the subsequent passage that promised a return home.
In his book Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives, Pope Benedict XVI addressed this omission. "[T]he mother's lament is without the consoling response is like a cry to God himself, a plea for consolation that does not come and is still awaited, a plea to which only God can respond."
Pope Benedict went on to explain that the true consolation to such grief does not come in words but rather in the resurrection.
Only through the resurrection can grief of such magnitude be healed. As the pope said, it is only through the resurrection that the injustice of children who "are no more" can be overcome.
For those who have encountered the risen Christ, we know that through his life, suffering, death and resurrection, we can become whole again. The final resurrection will set all things right.
I began by saying that I hoped Morgentaler had a deathbed conversion. It does happen. Other people responsible for mass murders have been redeemed through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His redeeming blood has saved them.
Dr. Bernard Nathanson was an abortionist responsible for more abortions than Morgentaler. By his own account, he presided over 75,000 abortions at New York's busiest abortion clinic and helped change America's moral landscape for the infamous 1973 Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision.
Over 50 million of America's preborn children have lost their lives since then. Although Nathanson eventually rejected his abortion views and activities, he remained an atheist until he became a devout Catholic in 1996 and died in 2011 forgiven by God.
God would have forgiven Morgentaler if he had asked. We won't know until the final resurrection. Then, all things will be revealed.