The Shotgun Blog
Sunday, March 20, 2005
UWO to honour Morgentaler
Abortionist Henry Morgentaler is among those who will be honoured at the University of Western Ontario's convocations this year with a Doctor of Laws. (Other liberals similarly being honoured include the feminist former editor of Chatelaine and one of the first Canadian journalists to call for the legalization of abortion Doris Anderson, chairman of the Council of Canadians Maurde Barlow and former Trudeau-era cabinet minister Marc Lalonde). I was interviewed by the London Free Press for a pro-life reaction to the news. I said that it was shameful that Morgentaler was being honoured because 1) he broke the law for nearly 20 years operating illegal free-standing abortion clinics, 2) since 1969 it is estimated that he has killed nearly one-third of all babies concieved in Canada and 3) he exploits vulnerable women; I don't think that those are the values a university should honour. More poignantly, my colleague Fr. Alphonse de Valk, editor of Catholic Insight, told the LFP: "I thinking it's an absolute scandal that they could do such a thing. As far as I'm concerned, he's the greatest mass murderer in Canadian history."
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Others to be honoured are as follows:
Mel Hurtig, Pierre Berton, Nettie Wiebe, Jack Layton, Chomsky, Stephen Lewis, Chief Muftanga Gwadna, Judy Sgro, Roger Galloway, Castro (78),
and a heavenly host of others, including Chemical Ali, Profesor Ward Churchill, Howie Dean, Eric Margolis, Trotsky, & etc.
Marc Lalonde will announce that the NEP will be resurrected by Maurice Strong in collusion with Power Corp. and Total Elf Chirac. Not NDP: NEP(search).
Wine will be served to all & sundry by GG at Rideau Hall. RSVP. Bring your own fromage and serviettes/napkins.
P.S. Carolyn Parrish not invited... still in doghouse.
Posted by: maz2 | 2005-03-20 12:26:57 PM
Very good maz but you forgot to mention that the Master of Ceremonies will be Baghdad Bob and that Linda McQuack will handing out free copies of her latest best seller "Where's My Crude Dude?" in the foyer from 4 - 6 & all departing guests will be given a free sub. to the Star by A. Zerbias as they leave the building - I'm sure this prestigious evening will be enjoyed by all.
Posted by: mr | 2005-03-20 2:32:07 PM
You came up with a guest list like that and forget Mumia Abu Jamal. For shame.
Posted by: Scott | 2005-03-20 4:05:14 PM
This isn't surprising. Has Morgentaler received the Order of Canada yet?
Posted by: Michael Dabioch | 2005-03-20 9:14:24 PM
This is not intended to start a debate, and if one starts I won't participate, but I just had to say that some of us on the right see what Dr. Morgantaler did as heroic. Abortion is not murder. What is being aborted is not a human, merely potentially so. That Dr. Morgantaler's actions have made the lives of untold *actual* human beings better is definitely worthy of honours.
Posted by: Mark Wickens | 2005-03-21 9:09:37 AM
I'm against abortion, and disagree with many of the pro-choice arguments. I wish more women would eschew the procedure and opt for children.
However, I'm also against ordering women around and telling them what they can and cannot do in matters of reproduction.
Even maintaining that all life is sacred can't square the circle here; when does life begin and when, exactly, does it end?
One other thing, abortion isn't necessaily 'liberating'; after a certain point it CAN make women less responsable and reduce their autonomy.
Finally, one look at Morganthaler and you just have to scream A-BORE-SHUN!
Posted by: John Palubiski | 2005-03-21 10:38:24 AM
Now, now, Morgentaler may not be Jude Law..but..
In my mind, the problem is complex and the answer therefore is not simple. The pro-abortionists have rejected the complexity.
The complexity is that, at a certain stage in every human life, we humans are unable to exist without a physical link to another human being. I don't consider the embryo a 'potentiality', for potentiality is far more abstract and far less material than an embryo. An embryo IS, in my mind, a distinct human being, but, one that is living 'indexically' which is to say, one that lives only when physically linked to another physical entity.
In most cases, this physical link is the mother. In premature birth, the physical link is various medical machines. In old age, the physical link may also be various medical machines.
But, given this reality, that the human being exists as an individual in both a physically-dependent and an independent phase, then..the situation turns to the major Physical Link; the mother.
Is she really, when pregnant, ONE person? Or is she, instead, two? That is, is her material reality (I don't mean her conceptual reality)..one or two human beings? This is what I mean by complexity. Imagine - a single individual changes and becomes two human beings; one independent and one dependent. This is, in my view, a reality that women have to accept. They are not men; at some stage, like it or not, their bodies do NOT belong only to themselves, but are also used by another human being, the one in the linked dependent stage.
The pro-abortionists reject the dependency stage of human life and therefore, reject that at this phase, a woman is 'two human beings'. They consider the embryo simply a non-human, and an abstract potential.
I'm of the opposite opinion. My opinion has nothing to do with religion (I'm an atheist) but is a decision made about material, physical reality...i.e., that at some stage, material reality is dependent on another material reality, and that this stage has to be acknowledged as valid, as real, as the independent stage.
Posted by: ET | 2005-03-21 10:57:59 AM
The issue that Scalia raises, thru his originalist interpretation of the US constitution,is why the abortion issue is decided by the courts at all. The same issue can be asked of the Canadian courts. The right to an abortion is not guaranteed by the Charter and the framers, Trudeau et al, had already revised abortion laws in the 1969 Omnibus bill. The seditious impact on Western Christian tradition was already evident. John Turner, Trudeau's Justice Minister -
"The problem of trying to render synonymous law and morality is that we then come down to the question: Whose morality? Whose standards of behaviour? Whose sense of morality?… In a pluralistic society there may be different standards, differing attitudes, and the law cannot reflect them all. Public order, in this situation of a pluralist society, cannot substitute for private conduct."
Western Christian tradition is abandoned by a Catholic Justice minister and a Catholic PM and substituted with the impotence of reason.
However, that is not Scalia's point. His view is that if a society wants abortion on demand, it should be decided democratically. It is clear that Trudeau et al, did not guarantee abortion as a constitutional right; just as they did not ensure the protection of life from conception to natural death. If abortion-on-demand or protection of life from conception or SSM is desired by the Canadian public an amendement to the Charter should be made. The black robes should butt out.
Posted by: DJ | 2005-03-21 1:52:07 PM
Well said. Most people deny the complexity of the issue, which you lay out quite nicely. "Pro-abortionists" do so by rejecting, in the face of all logic, the idea that an embryo/fetus is anything other than a part of a woman's body; "anti-abortionists" do so by harping on about the immorality of abortion, which all reasonable people can acknowledge, while failing to explain what resonable policy alternative they have to offer.
If life begins at conception (and nothing has ever managed to convince me otherwise), what is the logic of setting term limits? Homicide laws make no allowances for the age, dependency or frailty of the victim; why should abortion laws? Seems to me there are only two logical positions for society to take: the one we currently have (flawed but civilized), and one in which all abortions are illegal (barbaric, delusional, stupid).
Posted by: CSelley | 2005-03-21 2:20:29 PM
It's very hard to take something away once it has been given, in this case the right of women to abort their babies. Instead of prohibiting abortion, it would not be very difficult to educate younger women into having less abortions, similar in the way that tobacco education has decreased smoking. Oh, and non-medically required abortions should not be paid by the taxpayers out of our health care fund.
Posted by: ld | 2005-03-21 3:58:10 PM
CSelley: "'anti-abortionists' [deny the complexity of the issue] by harping on about the immorality of abortion, which all reasonable people can acknowledge."
I am a reasonable person who acknowledges no such thing.
Posted by: Mark Wickens | 2005-03-21 4:41:01 PM
It's either moral or immoral. Since you're a reasonable person, explain your argument for the morality of abortion.
Posted by: lrC | 2005-03-21 5:38:31 PM
In retrospect, "immoral" is probably a needlessly inflammatory word. What if I changed "immorality" in my comment to, uh, "badness" (that is, the state of being an inherently bad thing, irrespective of the alternatives)?
Posted by: CSelley | 2005-03-21 9:41:15 PM
re Mark Wickens remark concerning "Saint" Morgantaler. The irony is that the feting of the diminutive doctor is only ostensibly about abortion. He has become a symbol for feminists and others on the left who are eager to place an olive wreath on the head of anyone who opposes what they broadly view as "the conservative agenda". So Mark as a pro-abortion conservative may want to be leary about giving the Morgentaler cult the nod ... because in doing so he is giving a leg up to an agenda that is about more than abortion.
Posted by: raskolnikov | 2005-03-22 7:42:31 AM
Raskolnikov, Mr Wicken's views on abortion are the opposite of mine, but I can live with that.
His postings demonstrate that conservatism is not a 'one party state' when it comes to social issues.
Also, I don't think he's claiming that having an abortion is but a mere detail, the gynaecological equivalent of a dental check-up.
Posted by: John Palubiski | 2005-03-22 9:46:31 AM
Yes and I respect Mark Wickens' views on this specific issue. My point is that the Morgentaler "cult" had wider ramifications. He has come to represent a cultural agenda, unwittingly or not ... the roots of which are socialist and activist in orientation and implacably opposed to conservative values. When I taught ESL in Toronto there was a female staff member who was front and center in the pro abortion movement. She was also a feminist/gay rights activist and card carrying socialist with an agenda that went far beyond the abortion battle ground. She viewed Morgentaler's fight as just one trench in a very wide front.
This is why I object to the "iconization" of this man ... in sanctifying him as they do, the left is attempting to entrench a world view and a cultural agenda, that any conservative is bound to have an issue with ... simply by virtue of being conservative. I don't think that's a stretch.
Posted by: raskolnikov | 2005-03-22 10:53:12 AM
To CSelley: I guess I'm still unsure what you're getting at. If it's the fact that abortion is not a positive good, that no one wants to be in the position of requiring one, I agree.
To raskolnikov: Right, definitely not intending to get on any Morgentaler bandwagon. I just want to give praise where it's due, especially when others are calling him a mass murderer for the very thing I find admirable.
To John: Thanks!
Posted by: Mark Wickens | 2005-03-22 11:50:04 AM
Rask, I hear ya! I know that the abortion agenda is but one front in the culture war.
I'm against abortion, but I cannot bring myself to make it illegal even though it represents the ultimate manifestion of the "culture of death".
From where I stand the best way to counter the pro-choice propaganda is through moral persuasion. The pro-life crowd needs to explain exactly WHY abortion is immoral in clear and simple terms. I also think that this is a job that should be done mostly by women.
The sight of men lecturing women on the evils of abortion cracks me up. After all, no man will ever have to undergo one. It also plays into the hands of the pro-choice advocates by handing them yet another opportunity to crow on about how abortion is *really* about men controlling women's bodies. Yeah! right!
IMHO, there's nothing more effective in cooling the ardour of a stirring penis than the sight of a pregnant women!!
Posted by: John Palubiski | 2005-03-22 11:50:46 AM
Is there still any serious debate whether abortion is immoral? Is the debate not about whether abortion is the lesser of two evils - abortion vs restraining a woman's power of choice?
Posted by: lrC | 2005-03-22 12:27:00 PM
Wickens: Yes, that's what I was getting at, except for that "requiring" you slipped in there. No one's ever actually *required* to have an abortion, right?
I think it's unreasonable to expect people just to accept this statement at face value: "Abortion is not murder. What is being aborted is not a human, merely potentially so." Here's an analogy that doesn't fly: "Infanticide is not murder. What is being killed is not an adult, merely potentially so." Why is extinguishing this kind of potential okay (morally I mean, not legally), but not other kinds of potential? And accepting for the sake of argument that abortion is morally superior to murder, isn't ending a potential human life still - less, but still - immoral?
I am pro-choice because I don't believe a reasonable, civilized alternative exists, and I have no problem with the status quo because I don't understand why it's better to snuff out all that potential in week six than in week 20. I don't think we can even consider a "national debate" on abortion when the hardwireds on one side won't admit that abortion is a bad thing, the hardwireds on the other side won't state and justify their objectives, and all the reasonable people in the middle would rather eat their own hair than talk about it.
Posted by: CSelley | 2005-03-22 2:05:34 PM
lrC: I'm honestly puzzled that you think this is the state of the abortion debate, with all the pro-choice advocates happily conceding the immorality of abortion and merely arguing over the politics. Doesn't jibe with my perception at all.
CSelley: I said I wouldn't get into a debate and I won't. I don't consider my statement proved by any means; I was just stating my opinion, and providing some clue as to the basis for it. (Which is as much or more than the original post did.)
Posted by: Mark Wickens | 2005-03-22 3:10:43 PM
And yes, the "required" bit was an unfortunate forumlation. I still can't think of a better way to put it, however. How about "no one would wish to be in a position where abortion appears to be the best option according to their circumstances and moral convictions"?
Posted by: Mark Wickens | 2005-03-22 3:15:31 PM
"no one would wish to be in a position where abortion appears to be the best option according to their circumstances and moral convictions"
Very true. They teach-sex ed in school, why not abortion-ed? It really is a preventable procedure except in cases where the mother is at risk. Again, you cannot take this option away from women once it has been given to them, but you can certainly decrease the demand for it.
Posted by: ld | 2005-03-22 3:42:24 PM
OK so here is a pro choice woman who wants to make a case as to why abortion is immoral. Have you ever considered that it is impossible to abort without the shedding of innocent blood? Someone has a lot of innocent blood on their hands. Who? The 14 yr. old whose parents say “It’s abortion or the street”? The wife who gets told “it’s this third child or me, you choose!” Some choices like this are made daily in this country. How about the Dr. who is in it for the big bucks? The school councillor who takes your child (and grandchild) to the clinic without parental permission? They are the guilty ones, Wright? It’s all academic to us. Someone else’s choice/ right; distant and uncomfortable; not my problem. But what if, just what if we all are guilty of this innocent blood because we are Canadian and Canada condones, promotes, funds abortion and then pretends it’s all good. In futility, Canada washes her hands of the guilt, no laws exist, struck down (by Supreme Court Lighting). What’s a nation to do? How complacent we are, abortion is out of control in this country because we have no abortion laws, no limitations, no insurance that in the name of choice and women’s liberation, horrible wounds aren’t being inflicted on women. How many Canadian women die from abortion, how many are left suicidal, how many are infertile from post abortion infections/ scars, how many suffer from post abortion traumas of who knows how many kinds? Abortion harms women, we don't know how many because of privacy laws. When a woman goes to emergency with post abortion problems her privacy would be violated if the record made reference her having had an abortion. No records, no stats.
Then do we dare consider the innocent blood of thousands, crying out for justice? This is a Canadian issue not a Womens only issue.
Posted by: Rosie | 2005-03-22 11:11:53 PM
Secular humanism cannot provide the necessary worldview for unchanging morality; it necessarily results in an arbitrary societally defined morality. This is why secular humanism, pluralism, etc., are in conflict with Christianity -- they hate the idea that there is a very real God, who has revealed Himself and the order for His creation in certain terms with an immutable code of law. Why? Because they want to do their own thing without these restraints.
On the whole honouring Morgentaler thing -- see uwoprotest.com.
Posted by: William | 2005-05-24 7:27:17 AM
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