The sudden decision of the Order of Canada Advisory Council to award the its highest distinction to Dr. Henry Morgentaler has put the spotlight once again on Canada’s abortion architect and activist and raised serious questions about the significance and integrity of the “the centerpiece of Canada’s honours system” which “recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation”.
Henry Morgentaler began his crusade for the legalization of abortion in the 1960s. The 1988 Supreme Court decision that bears his name removed all legal barriers to abortion at any stage of pregnancy – since then, nearly two million future citizens have lost their lives to abortion.
Morgentaler, himself a survivor of the Dachau and Auschwitz concentration camps where he fought for his own survival, said that he has performed more than 100,000 abortions. One may wonder if he ever took to heart the teaching of his own Jewish faith that says: “to destroy a single life is to destroy an entire world and to sustain a single life is to sustain an entire world.”
When Canada honors someone who took the Hippocratic oath and has wreaked such hurt, havoc, sorrow and grief, something is wrong with the Canadian government commission that grants medals and a Governor General who, claiming Catholic roots when convenient, shows herself to be spineless, politically correct and without respect for human life. The recent controversy has also shed light on another dark area of Canadian society: that of the membership of government commissions that consist of patronage appointments who advance personal agendas, reward friends, lurk in shadows of “confidentiality” and hide behind structures and institutions. They pass themselves off as “government officials” when in reality they are not elected and do not represent the public.
During my six years as pastor of the Newman Centre Catholic Mission at the University of Toronto, I felt that I was on the front lines of a war zone against life. One of the most difficult aspects of my pastoral ministry at Canada’s largest university was dealing with many young women (and men) who had abortions. The poor and erroneous advice given to young, pregnant women at university-sponsored sex education centres directed them to clinics for “therapeutic abortions” for unplanned pregnancies.
An initial sense of “liberation” from termination of the unwanted pregnancy was almost always accompanied by deep guilt, trauma, anguish, nightmares for months, an inability to be around children, prevailing feelings of unworthiness, failed relationships, and sometimes a later inability to conceive. While much of the attention surrounding abortion is on the woman, I also saw first hand the devastating effects that it has on young men who fathered the children.
Those who experienced abortions and came to us at the Newman Centre were not fanatical Catholics but human beings who made bad choices, and had been deceived, crushed and terribly diminished. The Governor General was not there to console them.
Dr. Morgentaler and his agents and disciples did not have to deal with these individuals. They merely duped them. Our pastoral staff at the Catholic Chaplaincy was and is still there to help pick up the pieces, extend mercy, compassion and forgiveness, and help heal a broken society that suffers each time life is blotted out.
Henry Morgentaler clearly does not deserve to receive the Order of Canada. He debases the medal and those who have received it for heroism and the building up of Canadian society. Over twenty years of successive Canadian governments have been gutless and without courage to repeal the abortion law that bears Morgentaler’s name.
Perhaps the day has come when Canadians of good will who love life will rise up and say: “enough is enough.” The Canadian killing fields that are now found at the gateways of human life in our country must be transformed into sacred and safe places of life, liberty and security of every person.
Fr. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B.,
C.E.O., Salt and Light Catholic Television Network