Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Dr. Henry Morgentaler has earned Order of Canada - some others have not

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column

Morgentaler deserves it


My preference, to be frank, would be to see the Order of Canada be something that really unifies, that brings Canadians together.

- Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Dr. Henry Morgentaler deeply deserves the July 1 honour of receiving the Order of Canada.

And Prime Minister Stephen Harper is deeply wrong, both to criticize the appointment and to suggest that the Order of Canada be limited only to those who no one disagrees with.

Morgentaler risked his own life and that of his family for decades to do what he believes in - to give women the right to choice on the difficult and personal decision of abortion.

He spent 10 months in jail because of it, despite being acquitted by successive juries of ordinary Canadians, including Catholics whose faith opposes abortion. His clinic in Toronto was bombed by extremists.

And Morgentaler's belief in a woman's right to choice is a position the overwhelming majority of Canadians agree with and that Parliament finally supported.

Perhaps Harper prefers the Order of Canada simply being given to people like the famous athlete who represented our country at international sporting events, winning many gold medals.

His name is Ben Johnson and he cheated at the Olympic Games by taking steroids. Johnson was stripped of his gold medal - but still holds the Order of Canada medal he was awarded before that.

Or maybe Harper thinks a better quality of recipient of the Order would be a world-recognized author of books about Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon and a publisher.

His name is Conrad Black and he is currently sitting in a U.S. jail cell doing 78 months for fraud and obstruction of justice - but still has his Order of Canada.

And perhaps Harper thinks someone with a background of church service is a better choice than Morgentaler.

In fact, one B.C. religious recipient of the Order has already returned his medal to protest Morgentaler's award.

But the strong convictions of Father Lucien Larre also include criminal convictions for assault and administering a noxious substance when he worked with high-risk youth.

The reality is that the Order of Canada recognizes with very different achievements - backgrounds that not all of us would support.

Morgentaler is admired by millions of Canadians for his actions - and that's why he has been honoured.
UPDATE - Thank you so much 24 hours readers! The Facebook online protest group "Axe The BC Gas Tax" should have over 9,000 members by today! If you are still as angry as I am about Premier Gordon Campbell's carbon tax you can still join by going to http://www.facebook.com/
and typing in the group name with no periods after B and C. More later.


Anonymous said...

I'm disgusted that such an award be given to a man that has done nothing but murder innocent lives at the expense of tax payers. Bravo to all that return their awards, as I would do the same. What a sad day for Canada!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I congratulate Dr. Morgentaler and thank him.

What a great day for Canadian women.

Gary E said...

You are most correct in your analogy Bill. People tend to forget that some recipients did things against the grain. This man laid his life on the line for women, especially women in peril. I support a womans choice and I support Dr. Morgantaler as a recipient of this award.

marian said...

I am sad to hear you think a man who is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent victims should be honoured for it. (I had more faith in you Mr. Teileman - you have gone down more than a notch in the way I view you) Canadians indeed have lost their moral compass if they believe this is the best person for this award. I also am against Conrad Black and the others mentioned getting the award. Bag the award altogether. Giving this award to Morgantaler has been deeply divisive and has done nothing to unite us as Canadians. The award now has no meaning. What about an award for the courageous women who fought to give their babies life rather than death - many of them sacrificed so much. Are we a "take the easy way out society", selfish to the end - this being the end of a human life.

BC Mary said...

Henry Morgenthaler, by professional action, released many women from a terrible tyranny.

Think of that woman in Belgium, for example, who was imprisoned and raped for 24 years by her father and was forced ... yes, forced ... to give birth to 7 offspring who are her own brothers and sisters.

It's awful to imagine a world in which all doors are closed to any woman in such distress.

Dr Morgentaler was a beacon of renewed hope for so many women and was willing to stand alone against those who try to control the lives of others. In other words, he stood against tyranny and for that, he richly deserves our thanks and our highest award.

Thanks for being forthright and caring about this, Bill.


Anonymous said...

Unless you have had a loved one raped and left pregnant; a fourteen year-old crying with despair; a severely handicapped girl who didn't understand what happened, you have no right to criticize Dr. Morgentaler.

Anonymous said...

I 100% support the awarding of the Order of Canada to this great man.

All his life he has fought against the reactionary forces of the Catholic Church and its "dark-ages" surrogates.

Did you know that Adolf Hitler made abortion a capital crime in Nazi Germany ?

Yes, Adolf Hitler was pro-life !

So the rabid pro-lifers are in good company when they attack this gallant man.

The concentration camps didn't kill him, and neither will these 12th Century fanatics who just want more future troops for the right wing.


Budd Campbell said...

I must have missed it. I don't recall hearing Harper criticize Morgenthaller's appointment.

Anonymous said...

Abortion is legal in this country. A person is not a person till birth. I rather doubt most women use abortion as a birth control method. For the very loud ones let's consider that someone close to you decided it was best for her, and her family to abort, I believe the woman is safer now than in some alley with a caot hanger or taking some combination of diffent solvents to get results. We shouldn't judge Dr. Morgetaler or the women involved until we walk some distance in thier shoes. The courts struck down the law so live with it folks

BC Mary said...

Correction: that woman was imprisoned in Austria (not Belgium).

Anonymous said...

Lord Black is doin his own time and didn't rat, a real stand up guy
in some circles. He writes to us regularly from the joint pointing out who is just and worthy. What a trooper!

Keep it up 'Connie', stand by your flag whichever one it may be. There are good jobs with benefits... here in BC for men and Lords of your type.

All of my best to Bab's ; -)


Anonymous said...

1. Harper's comment about unifiers is ridiculous - by definition, each recipient represents divisiveness. Theists (both mono and multi theists) vs atheists is the most fundamental division.

2. The anti-Morgenthaler columns cite the negative statistics but ignore the compensating stats: a) number of women NOT butchered by backstreet abortionists b) unwanted children abused, abandoned and murdered by their parents c) the financial and psychological burden to parents of multiple unwanted children, etc. etc.

3. It doesn't bother me in the slighest if pedophile priests and their enablers/shelterers/supporters give back their OCs.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Morgentaler has long been a hero of mine, putting his life and freedom on the line for a cause he believes in. Not many doctors have his kind of courage. I'm old enough to remember the carnage of back street abortions when women did not have the choices we have today. I'm thrilled that he has been awarded the order of Canada for upholding women's freedom to choose for ourselves. Anti choice people often compare Morgentaler to Hitler, so I was pleased to read the comment above re: Hitler. I would correct it, however, to say that Hitler was more anti choice than pro life as are many of the "pro-lifers" today. Hitler was anti-choice for the "Aryan" women but absolutely supportive of forced abortions for Jewish and other "undesireable" women. Read 'Mothers in the Fatherland: Women, the Family and Nazi Politics' by Claudia Koonz for more information re: Hitler and the Catholic church during this horrendous time in history and its impact on choice for women.

Anonymous said...

You cannot control a womans choice over what happens in her own body. If you think that you have that right, then why not control where a man puts his ejuaculate? Ya, lets control all those free flowing sperm...they are creating so many pregnancies!

marcella said...

Thanks for your column Bill...couldn't agree with you more!

Kootenay Dan said...

Thanks Bill.

And I will note that every single 'pro-life' comment in this string has been posted anonymously.

Bill Tieleman said...

It would appear the majority of Canadians agree with Dr. Henry Morgantaler's recognition - this story is just out:

Poll: Two out of three support Order of Canada for Morgentaler

Janice Tibbetts
Canwest News Service

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

OTTAWA -- Two out of three Canadians either support or somewhat support the appointment of Dr. Henry Morgentaler to the prestigious Order of Canada, reveals a new poll, which points out Prime Minister Stephen Harper is in the minority by voicing his "personal dissatisfaction" with the controversial nomination.

The survey, conducted exclusively for Canwest News Service and Global National, showed 65 per cent of Canadians favour awarding the high honour to the Toronto abortion doctor, while 35 per cent are against it.

"Two-thirds support is very solid," said John Wright, senior vice-president of the polling firm Ipsos Reid, which surveyed 1,023 adults from July 4-7. "You're not going to do much better than that."

Women, Quebecers, and people under 35 were the most likely to approve of Morgentaler's investiture to the order.

While opposition was strongest in the Prairies and Atlantic Canada, a majority in every province still gave the nod to the announcement that Morgentaler, one of the most divisive Canadians in history, would receive the snowflake-shaped insignia.

Nationally, 27 per cent of Canadians polled said they strongly supported the nomination, while 37 per cent somewhat agreed. On the other side, 19 per cent were strongly opposed and 16 per cent were somewhat opposed.

Anonymous said...

This is the letter I sent to the Governor General.

To, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean,

As a woman of the "coat hanger" era, I can't tell you how pleased I am that Henry Morgentaler has been honoured with the Order of Canada. Women of my era, prior to the pill and the option to choose an abortion, thanks in large part to the work of Henry Morgentaler, suffered greatly from unwanted pregnancies, desperate attempts to abort at home, and back door abortionists who sometimes caused infections leading to sterilization or even death.
I voted for him as Canada's greatest Canadian. Control over one's body is fundamental to human rights.

I thank you and the committee who chose to hoour him,.

Anonymous said...

"Think of that woman in Belgium, for example, who was imprisoned and raped for 24 years by her father and was forced ... yes, forced ... to give birth to 7 offspring who are her own brothers and sisters."

and this relates to abortion how...?

Morgentaller, the BABY BUTCHER

Horny Toad

Anonymous said...

re: Horny Toad's comment... Apparently you feel that a woman enslaved, sexually abused, and forced to give birth is unrelated to the issue of whether or not women have the right to choose how our bodies are used and controlled by society rather than by ourselves. Female sexual slavery has existed for a long time, in many places, along a continuum that has the Fritzl case at one extreme end, plain sexist attitudes at the other end, and many varied and unfair cases in between. Joseph Fritzl's daughter is not by any long stretch of the imagination the first woman forced to give birth to her father's child, and certainly not the first woman made pregnant by an abuser. If that alone is not enough to make you understand and realize the importance of choice for the individual woman you must indeed be a horny toad of some kind.

Also...further to the comment of anonymous 8:20 am, please keep in mind, horny, that if you have ever jerked off (which I'm sure you have on many occasions) you have destroyed potential life (unless of course you use all semen for artificial insemination).

Anonymous said...

"re: Horny Toad's comment... Apparently you feel that a woman enslaved, sexually abused, and forced to give birth is unrelated to the issue of whether or not women have the right to choose how our bodies are used and controlled by society rather than by ourselves."

The story of the woman in Austria is horrendous, just as the stories of women in Afghanistan forced to stay in their homes, wear burkas. ditto for moslem women stoned for being raped. I don't dissagree. I presume that abortion in Austria is legal as well. So that women had the "legal" right to an abortion. The fact that her father forced her to have the children is totally irrelevant to the argument. In this case the story IS "unrelated" to the issue of whether or not women have the right to choose how our bodies are used and controlled by society rather than by ourselve. It wasn't society that prevented her from having an abortion, it was a demented man. Big difference I'm sure ever you would understand.

As for your unsavory comment about jerking off if I wanted that kind of a discussion I would phone a "phone sex" line. I expect a different dialogue hear.

BTW, I still consider Mogentaller a "BABY BUTCHER"

Horny Toad

Anonymous said...

For Horny Toad: I've never called a phone sex line so I had no idea that women on them told men they were destroying life by masturbating. Who knew??? I would have imagined many other scenarios in the world of phone sex, but never that one. I didn't realize there was erotic potential in the concept of destroying life. Do phone sex workers call male masturbators "baby butchers"?

Anonymous said...

Well, anon, you apparently can't read OR reason.

I said IF I wanted that kind of a conversation I would phone a sex line. The difference should be obvious even to you. You must have some experience with phone sex though, otherwise you would'nt have written this "women on them told men they were destroying life by masturbating"

And speaking of which, if you don't consider a fetus to be a human being then it surely is a stretch to condsider 1/2 of conception(sperm) to be life.

And as for your last question I suspect that many of them refer to Mogantaller as the "baby butcher"

Horny Toad

Anonymous said...

Please shut up, both of you...this is not what a "Comments" section is for. You both are just sounding incredibly stupid now.

BTW It's not our place to judge this man. He got the Order of Canada. Woo hoo. Leave him alone.