National Catholic Register


Disorder in Canada: The Morgentaler Mess

BY Donald DeMarco

September 7-13, 2008 Issue | Posted 9/3/08 at 11:40 AM


My wife asked me, shortly after Architects of the Culture of Death was published, why I did not devote a chapter to the notorious abortionist Henry Morgentaler. It was a good question. I had thought that Morgentaler, the prime mover in the complete dismantling of all legal protection for the unborn in Canada, did not have much influence outside the country. One of my criteria for inclusion in the book was the widespread dissemination of the culture of death, either historically or globally.

Recent events, however, have nudged me to wonder if I had made an egregious omission. Now that Morgentaler is a recipient of the Order of Canada, the highest civic honor that the government can bestow on a Canadian citizen, he has become, in a sense, larger than life, an icon and trailblazer who embodies what Canadians are expected to imitate.

The Order of Canada is supposed to recognize a “lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the country” to those who “have enriched the lives of others and made a difference to this country.”

Since the infamous Morgentaler Supreme Court decision in 1988, the number of unborn Canadians who have been aborted is equal to the population of Manitoba and Saskatchewan combined. This surely makes a “difference” to Canada, but does it “enrich” any lives?

The Ottawa Gazette ran a memorial to these victims of abortion, referring to them as ex-potential recipients of the Order of Canada.

In the face of a landslide of lost lives, Morgentaler remains as glib as ever. He speaks of abortion as “necessary for the integrity of the family” and takes credit for helping to create a society where “people can realize their full potential.” The Quebec newspaper Le Droit reported that in one year Morgentaler grossed approximately $11 million from his cross-country abortion franchises.

Awarding the Order of Canada to Henry Morgentaler — not to anyone’s surprise — has provoked disorder in Canada.

At least eight Order of Canada medals have been returned. Petitioners throughout the country are urging the government to rescind the award, now that it has become debased and thoroughly discredited.

Yet, even these gestures have sparked further controversy. Edward Greenspan, a Toronto criminal lawyer, says that returning the medals is “madness,” “an ugly act,” “an obnoxious gesture.” Writing for the Toronto Sun, he charges that “Anyone who returns their [sic] medal clearly did not deserve it in the first place.” There is not much middle ground on this issue. Greenspan’s clarity will likely elicit someone else’s perplexity.

Polls indicate that the majority of Canadians oppose giving the award to Morgentaler. But the politically correct elite have gotten their way. They have attempted to create a personal memorial, a national enshrinement to a woman’s prerogative to choose abortion.

A memorial dispenses with argument. It is assumed to stand above debate and serve as an unquestioned beacon for others to follow. Has Morgentaler and what he represents now been made even more dangerous?

Nonetheless, the disorder this award has provoked may provide an impetus that opens an honest discussion of abortion, including its ill effects on women, its tearing at the family and how it deprives the unborn of realizing any of their potential.

Adding to the national disorder, a recently released short film, First-Degree Morgentaler, provides the testimony of Vicky Green, who attests that Morgentaler told her, “It’s not a baby” when she balked at going through with the abortion. She subsequently cried while undergoing the procedure.

Currently, the Canadian government is assessing Bill C-484, The Unborn Victims of Crime Act. The bill, if passed, would amend the criminal code and allow homicide charges to be laid when the death of an unborn child results from a criminal attack against a pregnant woman.

Some oppose the bill because they see it as the first step toward recriminalizing abortion and thereby denying women their reproductive “rights.” Others see it as a deterrent against assaulting pregnant women, given the fact that one in six women is physically abused during pregnancy in Canada.

In the House of Commons, the Yeas numbered 147, while 132 voted Nay. At this writing, the bill has been referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

Abortion continues to be an issue that will not go away, despite the massive effort on the part of the Canadian government and the media to make it a non-issue. At present, it is forcing Canadians to decide what kind of society they want for themselves and their descendents.

The fact that Henry Morgentaler has received the Order of Canada while Linda Gibbons has served five years in jail for doing nothing more than peacefully trying to dissuade women from aborting their children, may indicate that Canada has reached a significant crossroad in its history.

Donald DeMarco is

adjunct professor at Holy

Apostles College and Seminary

in Cromwell, Connecticut.