Canada features prominently in the news today.

Canadians are going to the polls right now to elect a new federal government, after an election campaign in which religious perspectives were almost entirely absent, as the Register reported here.

But abortion did raise its head in the closing days of the campaign, courtesy of the controversial decision to confer the country’s highest honor, the Order of Canada, on abortionist Henry Morgentaler.

The honor was bestowed on Morgentaler Oct. 10, and National Post columnist Barbara Kay marked the occasion by noting how recent experience in Morgentaler’s native country of Poland debunks the pro-abortion argument that abortion has no negative medical consequences.

After Poland passed a strict anti-abortion law in 1989, the rate of legal abortions plummeted 98%.

Kay notes that subsequent studies recorded that maternal mortality declined in Poland by 41% while infant mortality decreased by 25%. And the rate of early XPT deliveries, which are associated with a massive increase in the incidence of cerebral palsy among newborns, also dropped sharply.

Said Kay, “If women knew about these and other risks of induced abortion, the only surgical intervention that is routinely performed on women without having been performed first in animal studies, at the very least the rate of multiple abortions would decrease. The benefit to our health care system is obvious: fewer future high-risk pregnancies would immediately reduce pregnancy-related costs and high-tech, labour-intensive care in neo-natal units, not to mention the dramatic decrease in the high lifetime burden of care associated with the stricken children. The emotional costs to the parents of these children are of course incalculable, and any information that would lead to fewer such tragedies should be an outcome all Canadians, including the most fervently pro-choice amongst us, should welcome.

“And so, as Dr. Morgentaler receives his Order of Canada today, let us reflect on the irony of life. We so often hear the phrase ‘rush to judgment’ when we speak of people charged with a crime they may not have committed. We should also be careful of the ‘rush to honour’ those whose legacy may embarrass us. And here in Quebec City today is, verily, a case in point of a rush to honour I believe will one day prove a cautionary tale for the Order of Canada committee.”

—Tom McFeely