In the Blog

Morgentaler named to Order of Canada

July 2nd, 2008     by Stacey May Fowles     Comments

Good Morning Shameless readers! Thanks to our reader Nikita for alerting us all to the fact that Morgentaler has been among those named to Order of Canada. Good morning indeed!

Now 85, Morgentaler, a Polish Holocaust survivor who immigrated to Montreal after the war, opened his first abortion clinic in 1969 and performed thousands of procedures, which were illegal at the time. Morgentaler, a trained family physician, argued that access to abortion was a basic human right and women should not have to risk death at the hands of an untrained professional in order to end their pregnancies. Morgentaler’s clinics were constantly raided, and one in Toronto was firebombed. Morgentaler was arrested several times and spent months in jail as he fought his case at all court levels in Canada. His victory came on Jan. 28, 1988, when the Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canada’s abortion law. That law, which required a woman who wanted an abortion to appeal to a three-doctor hospital abortion committee, was declared unconstitutional.

This is a huge victory, one that Shameless has believed in for a long time, and such a wonderful piece of Canada Day good news.

Feminist and author Judy Rebick told the Globe and Mail on Monday that it is about time Morgentaler is honoured for his long battle. “Dr. Morgentaler is a hero to millions of women in the country,” she said. “He risked his life to struggle for women’s rights … He’s a huge figure in Canadian history and the fact that he hasn’t got [the Order of Canada] until now is a scandal.”

Agreed. Now go read this Feministing community blog piece, “Juno Lied,” written by a teenage girl in the US about trying to find out how to get an abortion for her best friend. It really does emphasize how important it is to honour people like Morgentaler in this country.

Photos by SMN.

Tags: activist report, body politics, news flash

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