Bob Rae vs Morgentaler?

Hey guys. I was reading a great article about Linda Gibbons the other day. We have talked about Ms. Gibbons before. She is an extremely brave women who has spent more than 10 of the last 20 years in prison for violating the temporary restraining order (among the longest “temporary” restraining orders in the country) that surrounds abortion clinics, often physically walking into abortion clinics to take her message that what she sees is wrong directly to the source.  As a point of reference, legendary serial killer Karla Homolka was given 12 years for her role in the deaths in the rape murders of two teenagers and the rape of her own sister. Ms. Gibbons and her associate Mary Wagner, who has also found herself behind bars for her counseling of pregnant women inside the restraining order zone, were nominated for the Diamond Jubilee Medal by Conservative MP Maurice Vellacoit, and Ms. Wagner ended up receiving it. The Diamond Jubilee Medals are medals that each MP can give out to a certain amount of people, in this case 30, who have made a difference in the community. Now there can certainly be disagreement about whether or not you agree with these women’s policies. I certainly see the merit in arguments that pro-lifers must always keep their protests within the boundaries of the law, no matter how wrong that law is. Despite this, however, there can certainly be no doubt about these women’s courage and determination, standing up to a legal system that kills that those that it should be protected, even at the cost of their freedoms. This kicked off a very interesting conversation in my head about civil disobedience: how far would I, or anyone else I know, be willing to go to stop something that is as wrong as abortion? How far should we go? Some of the great rights movements of our time have, after all, been accomplished with the very type of civil disobedience that Ms. Gibbons and Ms. Wagner are employing, a point that Mr. Vellacoit made in his speech. It was this point in my reading that I came upon a different point of view, that of interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae. Rae pointed out that awarding an honour to someone who has broken the law crossed the line, and said that this could be used to incite others to break the law themselves. He then went further and said that Mr. Vellacoit had in fact broken the law by encouraging others to break the law. I love descriptions of the pro-lifers, or just people in general, in which politicians treat us as if we hold their opinion in such high esteem that if they gave a wink we would be burning down buildings. If this is how Mr. Rae feels at about this issue, however, I can certainly see where he is coming from. Politicians are, after all, necessarily protective of the laws that they helped to create. That is why I know that Mr. Rae will support the efforts to take the Order of Canada away from one Henry Morgentaler. Dr. Morgantaler was, in 1974, convicted of performing an illegal abortion, and has admitted to performing many more. I of course understand that Mr. Rae had nothing to do with giving Dr. Morgentaler the Order of Canada (for that we can thank the redoubtable Stephen Harper) but I am sure that he would agree that if giving the Order of Canada to a convicted law breaker such as Dr. Morgentaler were to stand, it could lead to encouraging people to break the law thinking it could get them honoured by their country. Such a thing would undermine the sanctity of Canadian law, as we know it. That is why I completely support Mr. Rae’s (implied) campaign to remove orders of prestige from Henry Morgentaler. Or maybe a little consistency really is too much to ask these days. Anyways, this is what I think, but I’m much more interested in what you think. What’s your opinion on abortion, or any of the other issues raised here? Please leave a comment in the section below. I’d love to hear from you.

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