The group of 22 was organized, press reports stated in early August, by Toronto economist, Gordon Cleveland. “Defend women’s rights to abortion, men urge,” stated one headline. “Men are urged to get behind pro-choice movement,” read another. “Men rally for abortion – Ruling slammed,” and “Actor, ex-envoy join fight for right to choose abortion” stated a third and fourth report.
It sounded very much like panic. The “ruling” in question was the 3-2 majority Quebec Appeal Court decision to uphold the Daigle injunction against having an abortion. The ex-envoy was, of course, Stephen Lewis, former ambassador to the U.N., presently on the lecture circuit. “These are dreadful and unacceptable judicial decisions made by men antagonistic to women,” said the great man, “and it’s time that men took a stand.” (Globe, August 5, 1989)
The actor was Donald Sutherland, who was not quoted. But he and the others were said to support the view that “women are not baby-machines there to satisfy the egos or needs of men.” Now that is an obvious common sense point of view. These gentlemen apparently mean by it that every woman has the right to kill her unborn baby.
The newspapers never did give their readers the full slate of signatures but, on inquiry, The Interim was able to obtain them. They are: Gordon Cleveland, 42, economist, University of Toronto; Michael Kaufman, 38, co-organizer, political science, York University; Stephen Lewis, former leader of the Ontario NDP and former U.N. ambassador; Norman Jewison, film director; David Cronenburg, film director; Michel Tremblay, actor; Donald Sutherland, actor; Bruce Kidd, U. of T. professor, physical education; Svend Robinson, NDP-MP; Jean Lapierre, Liberal-MP; Jonathan Sneider, President, Young Liberals; Timothy Findley, writer; Mordecai Richler, writer; Pierre Berton, writer; Spider Robinson, writer-science fiction; Jack Layton, Toronto civic politician; Trent Frayne, sports journalist; Jay Scott, movie critic; Bob White, president, CAW union; Fred Palmorhow, president, Communications Workers; Wilson Head, black organizer; Robert McClure, former moderator, United Church; Michael Chapcot, church/community organizer.
These men are the “prominent” men. Cleveland proves to be a graduate student. Co-organizer Kaufman, who together with Bruce Kidd was the only one present at the press conference, was quoted with the following profound observation: “It seems one sperm from a man can imprison a woman for nine months and then the rest of her life.” The Globe and Mail immediately invited him to elaborate in an article entitled “Men’s rights: no more control.” (August 10)
Some of these men have appeared in the pages of the The Interim before. Pierre Berton is a long-time director of CARAL; Cronenburg had his start in film-making with porno movies; Svend Robinson and Jay Scott, the Globe and Mail movie critic, are active homosexuals; Trent Frayne is the husband of Morgentaler admirer June Callwood; Robert McClure is the United Church medical doctor who performed abortions as a missionary in Asia; and Bob White, the president of the Canadian Automobile Workers is an old Morgentaler supporter.
Keep this list for future reference just in case your favourite local club intends to invite one of them for a lecture.