As I posted earlier, Dr. Mortgentaler was awarded the prestigious Order of Canada. I for one believe that his award is way over due, and I am glad that he was recognized while he was still alive. Of course the pro-birth forces are up in arms over his selection. Members of the Madonna house are returning the award that was given to Catherine Doherty and Rev.Lucien Larré is returning his award. According to CBC, "The Roman Catholic archbishop of Toronto, Thomas Collins, said the country’s highest honour had been “debased.”
In a statement, Collins invoked the names of Frederick Banting and Charles Best, who co-discovered insulin in 1921, and are both celebrated as medical heroes in this country.
“Now it honours with the Order of Canada a medical man who has brought, not healing but the destruction of the defenceless and immeasurable grief," Collins said."
What Collins fails to take into account are the lives of many women that have been saved by the ability to have safe, and reliable abortions performed by a medical professional. Whether or not abortions are legal, they are going to continue to happen. Women have always sought to control their fertility and since the medical establishment professionalized women's traditional knowledge of healthcare, herbal relief has been lost to the sands of time. Through the demonization of midwifery, men have had an adverse effect on our knowledge of self. Dr.Mortgentaler has sought to alleviate some of the damage that his profession has caused, and it is not only noteworthy, it is due our highest honour. The fact that our gutless Prime Minister cannot make a positive endorsement stating only that “The Conservative government is not involved in either deliberations or decisions with respect to which individuals are appointed to the Order of Canada" serves to highlight why his appointment is so necessary. Our government did not of its own accord seek to secure the right to abortion for women, it took a man to risk his freedom to make this happen.
There are those that will always argue that Mortgentalers appointment is controversial but they do not reflect the voices of countless women whose lives where saved, because he offered them the right to choose. Choosing to bestow our highest honour upon him not only celebrates his greatness, it validates the lives, and choices of women. Yes we make up 50% of the population, and we matter. That Rev.Lucien chose not to agree with this choice is inconsequential. He should not be allowed to return his award. He was convicted of two counts of physically abusing children in his care at Bosco, the award should be taken from him, as he is a shame upon our nation. Catherine Doherty is deceased, and those returning the award are doing so on her behalf. They may presume to know what she would, or would not have stood for, but in truth as she is unable to speak for herself we will never truly know what her feelings about Mortgentalers appointment would have been. This is nothing but blatant grandstanding.
I have never had an abortion, but I feel safer and secure as a person knowing that should the need arise, thanks to Dr.Mortgentaler that option will be available for me, without the need to risk my life. His willingness to champion this cause has given dignity to all Canadian women. Despite his detractors, I hope that he is able to celebrate this prestigious acknowledgement. The right to choose is about the sanctity of human life and thanks to his long struggle, women matter just a little bit more.