NewsThu Jun 16, 2005 - 12:15 pm EST
Abortionist Receives Honorary Doctorate from University While 600 Protestors Pray
LONDON, ON, June 16, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) -Â As graduates and their parents and the administration of the University of Western Ontario (UWO) entered the grounds for the graduation ceremony this morning they passed by some 600 pro-lifers who prayed silently protesting the honorary doctorate of laws to be conferred on notorious Canadian abortionist Henry Morgentaler.Â Graphic abortion signs and other signs protesting the scandalous award were prominent,.Media presence was abundant.Â Six UWO professors took part in the pro-life demonstration, some dressed in their professorial regalia.Â
For months pro-lifers have protested the decision.Â As many as 12,000 signed a petition against the award and graduates who respected life were forced to choose between missing their graduation and honouring a man personally responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of unborn children.Â The university is also known to have lost millions of dollars in donations.
The demonstration led by Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) was held only in the morning so as to allow graduates to enjoy their celebration after the ceremony.Â Jim Hughes, CLC National President Jim Hughes took part in the demonstration and told LifeSiteNews.com that it was a very positive event, with a third of participants under age 25.Â
One group of protesters representing the Evangelical group Truth and Love for Life, carried a coffin some 6km to the event to remember the over 2.5 million Canadian children killed thanks to Morgentaler’s successful campaign for abortion in Canada.
The protest began with a Mass celebrated by London Bishop Ronald Fabbro who encouraged the pro-lifers to keep working for life.Â He noted in his homilyÂthat he had asked that all parishes in the diocese remain open so the faithful could join in the event by prayer, if not able to attend in person.Â He also stressed that all Catholics are called to act in defence of life.
In an interview given to the Globe and Mail prior to the ceremony Morgenatler said, “I do believe, even if it may not sound modest, that I deserve this degree.”
Morgentaler received two standing ovations at the event.Â During his speech he recalled his own graduation saying of his degree: “I got it from the hands of Cardinal Léger, who was at the time chancellor of that university.Â It was a Catholic university at the time. He didn’t know what kind of black sheep I would become eventually. I didn’t know that either.”Â He continued, “Forty years later, it had become a secular university and I was the only one in my class who had been given a citation for my work in ensuring freedom of abortion for women in Canada. What a change.”
At a press conference after the ceremony Morgentaler was asked several probing questions by UWO radio reporter Roger Khouri.Â Khouri told LifeSiteNews.com that when asked if he’d perform abortions based on gender, disability or illness, Morgentaler responded that he had no problem performing abortions in cases of disability or illness of the fetus and that it was “up to the mother”.Â Abortions based on gender he said he was unsure of.Â Morgentaler also said he believes life begins between 24-28 weeks gestation, but nonetheless added that he had performed such late term abortions “in a few rare cases”.
Both Morgentaler and the man most directly responsible for the award controversial award, University President Paul Davenport were impressed by the peacefulness of the pro-life demonstration.Â Davenport noted the peacefulness of the demonstrators during the conference and Morgentaler said the heavy security was unnecessary.Â
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
200,000 Catholic Students Protest University Award to Notorious Canadian Abortionist