Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Morgentaler Accused of Mistreating Woman

>The Toronto Star Saturday January 12, 1985 /A15

>>>Morgentaler insists woman was not mistreated
>By Bill Walker

>>A woman who says she was mistreated at Dr. Henry Morgentaler's Harbord St.>abortion clinic has told a Toronto reporter a sanitary napkin was forced>into her mouth to stop her screaming in pain.>>And, she says, she was not given sufficient time to recover after she had an>abortion.>>But Morgentaler says the woman is an immigrant from Central America who has>been threatened by police and "coached" to make statements to discredit the>clinic.>>The woman, 27-year-old Sylvia of Toronto, is the patient Dr. Morgentaler>said was harassed by police last Monday after they followed her from the>clinic and later took her to Women's College Hospital.>>Her identity is being withheld by the clinic and by police. But yesterday, a>police reporter from radio station CFTR aired an exclusive interview with>Sylvia.>>She told the reporter she was not give a painkiller when the abortion>procedure began and she "jumped" in pain. But Morgentaler said the patient>received a painkiller and intravenous Valium to calm her down.>>Sylvia says she told him: "'Stop it, stop it. I don't want you to do this>(abortion) any more. Please don't do it.' " But Morgentaler said the patient>was calm and cooperative during the abortion.>>Sylvia said she screamed and a female assistant forced a sanitary napkin>into her mouth. "I went, 'No, no, don't do that.' She got the Kotex and she>put it in my mouth so I couldn't scream," she told CFTR.>>Morgentaler said she was offered the sanitary napkin to bite on and she>accepted willingly. It is a common practice, he said.>>After the abortion, Sylvia said, "They were trying to hurry me out of the>waiting room. They didn't even ask me, 'Do you feel like lying down?'">>"We took good care of her," Morgentaler said. "She spent an hour lying down>and eating cookies and tea under a warm blanket. When she left, she gave me>a big hug and said how well she was treated.">>Sylvia's advice to other women was: "No, not to go there at all, believe>me.">>Said Morgentaler: "I don't know how the police have influenced her. The>police have threatened her and she is intimidated. She is afraid of the>police and she is being coached to tell this story. It is a concocted>story.">>Her English is limited and Morgantaler said he spoke to her partly in>Spanish.>>Clinic staff member Sharon Levy-Hardaker, who counselled Sylvia before the>abortion, was amazed to hear the charges.>>>"The story you are getting from Sylvia now is a story from a hysterical>person," Levy-Hardaker said.>>She said Sylvia had been physically abused by the man with whom she was>involved and that by discrediting the clinic she may be "trying to justify>to the male involved that she was forced to go through with it (the>abortion).">>But Laura McArthur, president of the Right to Life Association, said>Morgentaler and his staff "have been lying through their teeth all along.">McArthur said she believes Sylvia's story "100 per cent.">>Police chief Jack Marks said earlier yesterday that he felt Morgentaler has>manipulated the media repeatedly since the clinic reopened and Sylvia's>story was one example of the truth being told.>>But Marks was not available for comment to comment of Morgentaler's charge>that Sylvia was "coached" before making her comments. Members of the police>morality squad, which is handling the investigation, were also unavailable>for comment.