Friday, 4 July 2008
An Addendum to Stop the Stupid!
Sorry for the intrusion folks, but there are just some things that absolutely cannot go unsaid. I very much need to comment on the ridiculous debate that is taking place this week as to the appropriateness of Dr. Henry Morgenthaler's appointment to the Order of Canada. To those of you somewhat out of the loop, The Order of Canada is our country's highest civilian honour, bestowed upon the best, brightest, most influential, most groundbreaking, most creative and most involved in public service. Dr. Morgenthaler is the brave and dedicated man who ignited the abortion rights and pro-choice movements in Canada, and that ultimately led to the striking down of restrictive abortion laws by our Supreme Court. As a direct result of his crusade to provide unfettered access to clean and safe terminations for women across Canada, we here in Canada have not had abortion laws on the books since 1988. While there are many in the country that may disagree with abortion on moral or religious grounds, it must be said that as a direct result of Dr. Morgenthaler's bravery and gumption, women across Canada have reclaimed control over their own bodies and reproductive rights. When Dr. Morgenthaler was finally awarded with the Order this week, the outcry from religious groups (especially the Catholic Church!) was resounding. The hope that they could persuade the Governor General to reverse her decision was loud and boisterous. I must wholeheartedly object! Not only do I believe that Dr. Morgenthaler's appointment to the Order is long overdue, but it is disingenuous to suggest that only those who have worked towards ideals that everyone agrees with should be feted. Past officers of the Order have included activists for gay rights, homosexual marriage, left wing unionist and right wing fiscal and social conservatives. Former Prime Ministers, whose very name sparks outrage and animus, are officers of the Order, as are scientists who have pioneered work in stem-cell research. Business people whose practices have bordered on questionable are members, as are marginally talented entertainers. Dr. Morgerthaler has worked his entire life to advance the rights of women. He richly deserves the honour.