Perhaps the silliest argument in favour of the old abortionist: That if only we weren’t so anti-Semitic and bent on detesting ugly people, there wouldn’t be such an uproar over his induction into the Order of Canada.
Many years ago, Montreal Gazette cartoonist Terry Mosher, aka Aislin, published a cartoon that pictured Henry Morgentaler beside a handsome, waspish doctor with an Anglo-Saxon name and posited the question: Do you think if Henry Morgentaler looked like this, there would be this fuss?
We may never know how the debate on abortion might have unfolded if its leading proponent looked like George Clooney. Aislin, also named to the Order in 2003, made his point brilliantly, tacitly alluding to an unfortunate thread of anti-Semitism that also circulates about Morgentaler and his practice.
I’m sure there are pro-lifers who harbour anti-Semitic feelings. After all, there are imbeciles everywhere – including among journalists and politicians and (why not?) pro-choicers. But really, dude, you’re pushing it. On the other charge, that of finding Henry Morgentaler less visually pleasant to look at than certain famous surfing actors I could name, well, gosh, I plead guilty. I didn’t think that was the reason I opposed abortion, but hey.