In 2005, Dr. Henry Morgentaler was given an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Western Ontario. If you are not Canadian, chances are you don’t know what any or all of that means. Neither did I, at the time.
I remember when it was in the news that Dr. Morgentaler would be receiving the degree, because we were discussing it at the dinner table. A friend of mine was attending UWO (or ‘Western’ as it is more commonly known) at the time and her mother objected to the famous abortion provider being honoured there. All I knew about Dr. Morgentaler was that he had something to do with the legal status of abortion in Canada. I had no interest in the pro-choice movement at that point, having only just begun to discover my feminist self.
My father was firm in his support of the honorary degree, and in an uncharacteristically passionate outburst, he declared: “Henry Morgentaler deserves that degree, and an Order of Canada on top of it! That man has done more than anyone else for women’s rights in this country.” [Read more...]