Catholic Group Returns Order of Canada After Abortion Practitioner Awarded

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 8, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic Group Returns Order of Canada After Abortion Practitioner Awarded

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 8
, 2008

Ottawa, Canada (LifeNews.com) — After the organization that awards the Order of Canada decided to give one of the prestigious medals to abortion practitioner Henry Morgentaler, pro-life advocates immediately criticized the decision. Now they’re going a step further and returning their own medals as a way of protesting the decision.

Officials with the Madonna House have returned the medal that Catherine Doherty, founder of the charity and who is under study for sainthood in the Catholic Church, received.

Doherty founded the Ontario charity in 1947, received the order in 1976 and died in 1985.

Fr. David May, a Madonna House director, said in a press release that "She exemplified what the Order of Canada should be about: an individual committed to strengthening the nation by her contribution to the vulnerable and the marginalized."

"It is only after much prayer and consultation with our community, as well as with heavy hearts, that we are undertaking this action," he added.

Officials with the Madonna House plan to gather at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, the official residence of Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean who bestowed the order on Morgentaler, to return the medal.

Meanwhile, Father Lucien Larre, a Catholic priest in Coquitlam, British Columbia, also returned his medal that he received 25 years ago.

Peter Ryan, the head of New Brunswick Right to Life, told LifeNews.com he’s not surprised medals have been returned and expects more pro-life advocates to do so.

"How many will return their medal? What does it say if they do not?" he asked. "One thing for sure: if 50 did so, they would surely revoke the shameful appointment, and it would give our pro-life cause a public honor it’s never had before"

He urged pro-life advocates to contact medal winners and urge them to return the honor now that it has been tainted.

"You might think of suggesting what they could do to help the pro-life cause, not to mention the honor of our country," he said.

Yesterday, LifeNews.com reported on a women’s group that said many women who had abortions at Morgentaler’s abortion centers were upset by the decision because of the pain and agony he caused them.

The Governor General’s web site states that Morgentaler was made a member of the Order of Canada for "his commitment to increased health care options for women, his determined efforts to influence Canadian public policy and his leadership in humanist and civil liberties organizations."

Morgentaler founded the first abortion center in Montreal in 1968. He currently operates six abortion facilities in Canada and has fought to make Canadians pay for abortions with their tax dollars.

The governor general’s web site said Morgentaler will be named at a later date as a member of the Order of Canada because of his so-called work on behalf of health care and humanitarian causes.

Despite an overwhelming objection to the award from the pro-life community, Morgentaler says he deserves it.

"The work I’ve done over the years and the sacrifices and the sentence of imprisonment that I have suffered, I think that finally now the government has recognized my contribution to Canadian women and I am very proud of it," the eighty-five year old Morgentaler told a news conference in Toronto.

Immediately following the news, a slew of statements and comments from pro-life advocates came to LifeNews.com condemning the award.

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