Friday, February 15, 2008

It's not because of abortion. It's because of safety.

This is a pretty contentious issue.

The Globe and Mail has an article about how pro-choice groups are saying it's a "blasphemy" that Dr. Henry Morgentaler hasn't been inducted into the Order of Canada.

I was so proud of Western, my alma mater, when they gave Dr. Morgentaler an honorary degree the year I graduated. There was so much controversy. So many protests. Disgust.


In my mind, it's not entirely about abortion. It's about the personal struggles that this man went through for what he believed in.

Henry Morgentaler is a holocaust survivor. He lost family members in Auschwitz and he survived. After being given a United Nations scholarship that was offered to Jewish survivors, he had to live with a German family that was forced to house him in order to attend medical school.

In 1950, he moved to Canada and worked as a general practitioner for nearly 20 years before his convictions about abortion caused serious conflict with others. He gave up his practice in order to openly perform illegal abortions in 1969. While I don't condone illegal activity, it's a pretty big deal to give up your livelihood for something you believe in so strongly. Fighting the courts, lobbying on behalf of Canadian women to prevent unnecessary deaths from botched abortions of scared women.

He has received numerous death threats, his clinics have been bombed, and yet he still kept ensuring that women who had already chosen to abort, were given a safe option. I think the big thing to remember is that women who want abortions will get them. No matter whether it's a safe or legal option. And a medical environment in a clinic is a far better alternative to back alleys and basements.

I think that Dr. Morgentaler, though not everyone agrees with his own personal beliefs, deserves to be honored as someone who overcame great adversity and struggled in order to make the country a safer place for women. We are taught at a young age to stand up for our beliefs and to fight for what we believe is right. It seems silly that we're told that it's "wrong" when others don't believe in the same things as someone who spent their life going against the status quo.

In my opinion, the Order of Canada holds many members who do not mean nearly as much to Canada, and what Canadians believe in (not so much whether abortion is right or wrong, but freedom, standing up for your beliefs, being given the opportunity to make your own decisions), as Dr. Henry Morgentaler.

Vote in the Globe and Mail poll.

1 comment:

Kaye Bee said...

I love this post... it so true.