What it was like to fight at an illegal abortion clinic in Toronto during the 1980s
Excerpted from Judy Rebick's new book, Heroes in my Head
June 13, 2018
On June 15, 1983, Dr. Henry Morgentaler opened an illegal abortion clinic in Toronto. The Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics (OCAC) had chosen a spot on the second floor of a lovely Victorian house on Harbord Street, a quiet downtown thoroughfare lined with bookstores and cafés near the University of Toronto. With the Toronto Women’s Bookstore on the ground floor, we were assured of supportive neighbours. The interior staircase up to the clinic was useful for security purposes—if anyone broke in, it gave the nurses and doctors time to secure the patients—and there was a front stoop, perfect for rallies. The plan was to hold a symbolic opening for the media at 10 a.m. Dr. Morgentaler, who lived in Montreal, would arrive at 3 p.m., say a few words, and then go inside.