Canada’s leftist, media and feminist establishments fell over themselves in praise of what they described as a leading Canadian “champion of women’s rights,” following her death on March 2 at the age of 85.
Doris Anderson was a magazine editor, author and campaigner for women’s rights – and also a virulent agitator in favour of abortion. A woman who ironically lived in a home for unwanted children the first few months of her life is now regarded as a pioneer in the area of so-called abortion rights. She used her editorship of Chatelaine magazine between 1957 and 1977 to expound for the legalization of abortion.
She is also credited with helping launch Canada’s “feminist revolution” through her agitation for a royal commission on the status of women in the 1960s.
“Chatelaine became one of the few places where feminist ideas were available to women,” noted a Canadian Press obituary. The CBC added that Anderson “quickly tackled hard-hitting issues such as … birth control and abortion” after taking over the magazine.
“I think it was Gloria Steinem who said that feminists get more radical as they got older and that was certainly true of Doris,” said Judy Rebick, another radical feminist and former manager of Henry Morgentaler’s Toronto abortuary. She added that Anderson found an advantage in getting older because she could “really take a good look at some handsome, young man’s ass and he would not even notice.”
Another leading Canadian pro-abortionist, June Callwood, lauded Anderson for “putting out the most seditious magazine in the country.”
Federal NDP leader Jack Layton, one more extreme agitator in favour of abortion, said Anderson “has always inspired me … Anderson was a driving force in Canadian feminist activism … Canada is a better place because of our ‘rebel daughter.’”
Interestingly, Layton’s remarks shortly preceded the release of census data revealing that only immigration is propping up Canada’s anemic rate of population increase. The dearth of people, greatly the result of liberalized abortion as advocated by Anderson, is promising to create a major social crisis in the coming years, as the baby boom generation moves into retirement and not enough young people pay into social services that were destined to preserve their elders’ health and well-being.
Anderson’s radical feminism may well have been fuelled by a strong animosity toward her father. According to a Globe and Mail obituary, he was a “belligerent and overbearing man who thrust himself into her idealized, matriarchal world, much to her dismay, when she was eight years old. This early life experience may help to explain why Ms Anderson so often chose conflict over consensus as a management style.”
For her part, Anderson affirmed: “I never learned to be subservient to men.” In her book, Rebel Daughter, she described how she used to fervently wish her father would be hit by a streetcar.
A profile in Library and Archives Canada notes Anderson “found it increasingly difficult to accept her mother’s vision of a traditional life based on marriage and children and looked to women such as her unmarried teachers as role models for an independent life.”
In the foreward to the book No Choice: Canadian Women Tell Their Stories of Illegal Abortion, Anderson described how she utilized an incremental approach to softening attitudes toward abortion. She said she took “an extremely cautious approach to this explosive subject … suggesting abortion be legalized in three instances: if a woman’s life were in danger; in cases of rape or incest; and if a woman knew she was carrying a fetus with extremely severe disabilities.”
She depicted those opposed to abortion as being concerned not with the well-being of women or children, but rather with stopping women from having any sexual activity outside of marriage and making them “provide a maximum number of babies for the state and church.”
She also complained about the fact that Prince Edward Island was abortion-free, as were many rural areas of the country.
Even in more recent years, after all laws restricting abortion were struck down by the Supreme Court in 1988 – creating a state of affairs in which preborn humans could be killed right up to the moment of birth – Anderson showed no hesitation in pushing for still more abortion access.
In June 2004, she appeared with Callwood and others on behalf of the Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics to protest what they called “the Conservative party’s right-wing stance on abortion.” During the 2005 controversy over the awarding of an honourary degree by the University of Western Ontario to Morgentaler, Anderson congratulated the university for its “courage.”
The Globe and Mail in its lengthy obituary reported that – not content with helping ensure lives could be snuffed out at the beginning – Anderson in her final days adopted as one of her pet causes “the right for terminally ill patients to end their lives with dignity and according to their own timetables.”
Evelyn Myrie, a columnist with the Hamilton Spectator newspaper, opined in a reflection after her death that Anderson “changed Canada.”
She certainly did. And we are still dealing with the damage she helped inflict on what was once a great country.