The Globe and Mail newspaper abandoned all pretenses of objectivity in a recent 3,000-plus word feature on Canada’s abortion pioneer Henry Morgentaler in a story entitled, “Why doesn’t this man have an Order of Canada?” Columnist Heather Mallick, in space outside her usual 750-word column allotment, failed to even acknowledge that another side in the abortion debate exists. Tony Gosgnach examines the journalistic issues in his story appearing on page three. This editorial considers the politics of the possible investiture of Morgentaler with the Order of Canada.
It is unlikely the government would honour Morgentaler so. To give him the OC would re-open a public debate about abortion, and it is unlikely that Prime Minister Jean Chretien, or those who advise him on OC matters, would want to expose the incredible lie that Canada has social peace on this issue.
More important, to honour Morgentaler with the OC would signal tacit approval of a man who helped change Canada’s abortion laws by breaking them and forcing a court challenge. This sends a multitude of signals: it would imply that what Morgentaler stands for – abortion on demand – is something admirable in Canada; it would approve of flagrant law-breaking as a means to change the law (as opposed to going through Parliament); it would show that the government favours one side in the abortion debate over the other.
Regarding this last point, imagine the uproar among the chattering classes if a prominent pro-life leader was honoured with the Order of Canada.
Joanne Deileman is a veteran pro-life activist and crisis pregnancy counsellor. As a mother of eight (included two who are adopted) she was involved in demonstrations at Morgentaler’s abortuaries throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, has counselled women facing crisis pregnancies since 1986 and has been a foster parent to a remarkable 249 children. Her commitment to opposing the injustice of abortion, and to personally aiding women and children, is certainly worthy of honour.
As is Jim Hughes, who will celebrate 25 years as a leader within the pro-life movement later this year. He is national president of Campaign Life Coalition and a member of the editorial board of The Interim. Certainly he has worked as hard advocating for the right to life of unborn children as Morgentaler has to snuff out their tiny, young lives.