Democracy on Trial: The Morgentaler Affair

Paul Cowan's film captures the spirit of the legal battle over abortion waged by Dr. Henry Morgentaler in Quebec and in federal courts between 1970 and 1976. Using a combination of newsreel footage, interviews and re-enactments, this docudrama unravels the complexities of the case that began as a challenge to Canada's abortion laws and turned into a precedent-setting civil rights case.

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Comments

  • SamuelLeBlanc

    “While no reason was given for the sudden change in access, thank you for making it available. It was a very instructive and well-made documentary.” — SamuelLeBlanc, 26 Feb 2012

  • SamuelLeBlanc

    “Why can I not be the 4,259th viewer? I've even tried to purchase the film via the usually efficient download option, but alas, this is to no avail. I was under the impression that NFB wanted us to see all their films, including the controversial ones. Is there some information that I am missing?” — SamuelLeBlanc, 15 Feb 2012

  • epistolary@myway.com

    “So, it wasn't until sometime after 1976 that our society changed changed one of its dictatorial procedures into a democratic one. It's a good example of government picking around to find any exception to normal procedure, even exceptions flying in the face of their own democracy so as to get their ambitions through. The scene near the end, by the fence, is very direct when the reporter speaking like some blunt-headed simpleton says, but "you broke the law" and Morgentaler corrects the poor man with "no, you see I was acquitted by a Jury." And then the reporter responds but then a judge overturned that, without realizing the whole legal issue at play was that we can't have a single judge overturn a jury. ” — epistolary@myway.com, 3 Mar 2010

  • epistolary@myway.com

    “So, it wasn't until sometime after 1976 that our society changed changed one of its dictatorial procedures into a democratic one. It's a good example of government picking around to find any exception to normal procedure, even exceptions flying in the face of their own democracy so as to get their ambitions through. The scene near the end, by the fence, is very direct when the reporter speaking like some blunt-headed simpleton says, but "you broke the law" and Morgentaler corrects the poor man with "no, you see I was acquitted by a Jury." And then the reporter responds but then a judge overturned that, without realizing the whole legal issue at play was that we can't have a single judge overturn a jury. ” — epistolary@myway.com, 3 Mar 2010

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Film Credits

director
Paul Cowan
editing
Paul Cowan
producer
Adam Symansky
Jefferson Lewis
Paul Cowan
script
Jefferson Lewis
cinematography
Paul Cowan
Mike Mahoney
sound
Jacques Drouin
sound editing
Bernard Bordeleau
sound mixing
Jean-Pierre Joutel
Adrian Croll
narrator
William Hunt
music
Alex Pauk
Alexina Louie
cast
Gabriel Gascon
Henry Morgentaler
Mike Morgentaler
Michael Rudder
Lisa Schwartz
Claude-Armand Sheppard
Jacques Thisdale
Gwen Tolbart

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