In light of Canada Day, discussion of the recipients of the Order of Canada has been brought up on CBC.ca. Amongst this year’s recipients there is a bit of a controversy surrounding one Dr. Morgentaler, the man who basically legalized abortion in Canada. From the site:
Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean has named a leading abortion rights crusader as a member of the Order of Canada, news that has outraged anti-abortion groups.
Dr. Henry Morgentaler is one of 75 Canadians receiving honours for their contribution to the country. The Governor General announced the new inductees to the Order of Canada on Tuesday, after the names were recommended by an advisory panel.
However, the doctor isn’t unanimously hailed as a hero, unsurprisingly. This apparently was represented on the cabinet that put forth his name, as well, and one Alberta MP commented on that fact:
“This is a pretty divisive issue,” he said. “I think we can all agree on that, so why would we have the highest honour in the country being issued when there is obviously a strong difference of opinion about it?”
And to demonstrate his point, the strongly opposed spoke up:
“If Morgentaler had any integrity, he would refuse the medal,” Mary Ellen Douglas of the coalition said in a news release. “This presentation should be given to people who have made Canada a better place to live and the elimination of thousands of human beings who would have contributed to the future of Canada is a disgrace, not an honour.”
I must agree with the MP that it’s an unusual decision, considering the political tension over the affair. But then, the fact that the decision is being criticised for being “undemocratic” seems to follow with the entire process that has brought Morgentaler to this point, anyways.
The process, not entirely unlike the one in the States, saw abortion legalized through a series of court processes rather than through any democratic political process. To add to that, in Canada, judges are appointed, never elected… although the counter-argument would be that the top dogs (the Supreme Court) are chosen by the government, which, of course, is elected. Still, the issue of abortion has never been raised on a political front, since most candidates are wary of choosing a side… since either way they would likely loose approximately half of the electorate.
Still, it’s also amusing to hear the anti-abortion faction speaking out and saying that he should “have integrity” and refuse the award. There’s a disconnect here, which makes me wonder why their comments were chosen to represent the faction. They clearly fail to realize that Morgentaler believes that abortion is the higher moral that should be sworn by.
On that note, I’ll bring this to an end with one comment. In the film from which the image above was taken (Democracy on Trial), Morgentaler states during a trial that the young woman before him had no one to support her, and no money to feed herself, and so when she came to him he had to give her an abortion.
I think it’s pretty revealing when our solution has so very little to do with the problem itself, and the proposers of those solutions are hailed as national heroes (although the thought process in the mind of those selecting may be altogether different than Morgentaler’s).