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Henry Morgentaler.

Toronto, General Publishing, c1982.
210pp, cloth, $16.95.
ISBN 0-7737-0109-0.

Grades 11 and up.
Reviewed by Alma Webster.

Volume 11 Number 3.
1983 May.

Dr. Henry Morgentaler is well-known across Canada for his very firm support of and stand on abortion. In 1967, on behalf of several humanist associations, he appeared before the Canadian House of Commons' health and welfare committee urging that the restrictive abortion laws be appealed. Afterwards, when he was be-seiged by requests for help from women who were desperate to obtain safe medical abortions, he opened an abortion clinic in Montreal. In 1972, Dr. Morgentaler was tried on a charge of illegal abortion and acquitted by a French-Catholic jury. However, this acquittal was reversed by the Quebec Court of Appeal, an unprecedented decision unique in Canadian jurisprudence. The acquittal was later upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada. He was tried and acquitted three times, yet he had a tatal of ten months in prison. Dr. Morgentaler won the Canadian Humanist Award in 1973 and shared the American Humanist of the Year Award in 1975.

The book is a practical guide "destined for women who one day may need an abortion, but also for any person, male or female, concerned with or interested in one of the most controversial ethical issues of this century." The topics covered include the basic facts of reproduction, the reasons for abortion, the dilemma of abortion, methods of abortion, complications, effects, illegal abortions, the law and abortion, the consequences of liberalized legislation, abortion and religion, abortion and morality, and contraception. The appendices include the text of the Canadian abortion law, glossary of terms, a bibliography, and an index.

The text is accurate and well-written in language readily understood by the average adult. For such a known staunch supporter, the writing is surprisingly low-key and most reasonable. He supports his thesis with current statistics that are carefully documented. The few illustrations are accurate, well-labelled line drawings.

Though his arguments may offend some people, they provide reassuring information that should be available in schools with family-life courses and in public libraries.

Alma Webster, Edmonton Public School Board, Edmonton, AB.
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