Morgenthaler Versus Borowski: Abortion, the Charter and the Courts

by F.L. Morton
371 pages,
ISBN: 0771065132

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Brief Reviews
by Allan Levine

No Two individuals have symbolized the opposing positions of the abortion debate more than Dr Henry Morgentaler and the former Manitoba NDP politician Joe Borowski. For the past 25 years, both men have devoted their lives and resources to the cause: Mortgentaler as a champion for women`s choice and Borowski as a defender of the unborn fetus. In Morgentaler V. Borowski: Abortion, the Charter and the Courts (McClelland & Stewart, 371 pages, $22.99 paper), the University of Calgary political scientist F L. Morton chronicles the legal battles of the two advocates to show how interest groups have manipulated the judicial system, the Charter of Rights, and the media to influence public policy. Apart from Morgentaler and Borowski, whose respective motivations and sincerity are not always apparent, the real stars of this book are the lawyers and judges who have spent long hours considering the complex facets of this controversial social and medical dilemma. Morton believes that, since the era of the Charter of Rights began in 1982, Canadian judges have perhaps played too large a role in determining society`s standards on matters such as abortion. Rather than merely applying the law, Supreme Court justices have reinterpreted our rights according to their individual personalities and understanding of societal values. In this regard, he links the Supreme Court`s 1988 acquittal of Morgentaler, and its decision that the abortion law as then written was invalid, with "the emergence of feminism as a major force in Canadian politics." Morgentaler V Borowski is a wellresearched, scholarly account of an important and sensitive issue. Though at times Morton`s writing becomes bogged down in "legalese" and academic digressions, any book on abortion endorsed by both Henry Morgentaler and Joe Borowski is definitely worth reading.

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