By John Jalsevac

September 15, 2008 ( – Recently Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte of Montreal made headlines with his decision to return his own Order of Canada as an act of protest against the decision to induct abortionist Henry Morgentaler into the Order.

While many pro-life advocates have welcomed the Cardinal’s decision and congratulated him for his public stance which has grabbed headlines throughout the country, a recent newspaper article has suggested that the Cardinal’s attitude towards Canada’s “father of abortion” and abortion itself may be more ambivalent than his recent actions indicate.

According to an article appearing in Le Journal de Montreal, Cardinal Turcotte says he refuses the “pro-life” label. ( )

The Cardinal Archbishop of Montreal told the newspaper that, while he “respects life” he understands that in cases of rape and incest some women feel “up against the wall” – a comment that appears to indicate some tolerance for abortion in such “hard cases.”

The Archbishop also said that the 1988 Canadian Supreme Court decision in the Morgentaler case, which introduced abortion on demand into Canada, had some positive aspects to it.

“[Morgentaler] saved the lives of women by helping them avoid being butchered by charlatans,” said the Cardinal.

The argument that making abortion illegal is the equivalent to condemning women to dangerous, back street, “coat-hanger” abortions is one of the core arguments put forward by pro-abortion advocates when pushing for decriminalization. They have regularly and vastly exaggerated the deaths of women from illegal abortions and ignored or hidden the substantial number of fatalities and serious injuries experienced by woman who have had legal abortions. Also avoided is the fact that wherever abortion is criminalized or re-criminalized and public funding ceased, the number of women seeking abortions plummets.

Another core argument often advanced is that abortion must be made legal to help women who become pregnant in the hard cases of rape and incest. What is not mentioned is that for many such women the abortion is a second type of rape, medical rape, which family, doctors and others pressure the women into. Pregnant raped women often do understand that the circumstance of their child’s conception does not change the fact it is still a child and aborting it would be unjust capital punishment for its father’s action.

The official teaching of the Catholic Church is that all procured abortions, including abortions in cases of rape and incest, are intrinsically gravely evil. The Church also teaches as a moral absolute that a society’s laws must protect the unborn from the moment of conception, including introducing criminal penalties for abortions.

A document put out by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1987, entitled Donum Vitae, explains, “The moment a positive law deprives a category of human beings of the protection which civil legislation ought to accord them, the state is denying the equality of all before the lawâEUR¦As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights.”

Nevertheless, in the article Cardinal Turcotte repeatedly expressed his disapproval of the state of abortion in Canada. The Morgentaler decision “banalized abortion,” said Cardinal Turcotte. “Our society should reflect on the value of human life.”

“The fetus cannot scream. It has no voice.”

Requests for comment from the Montreal Archdiocese were unanswered by press time.

To contact the Cardinal and respectfully express your concerns, write: [email protected]

See previous LifeSiteNews stories addressing issues raised by Cardinal Turcotte:

“Back-Alley Abortion” Myth Perpetuated on Film Nets Grand Prize at Venice Film Festival

Abortion still dangerous, Finnish study shows women who abort more likely to die in next year

Abortion’s Lingering Damage Revealed

Abortion in Cases of Rape: Why Not Kill the Guilty Rapist Before the Innocent Child

Rape and Incest Victims Don’t Want Abortion, Say It Doesn’t Help Women

Rape Victim: My Child “No Different Than a Child Not Conceived in Rape”

“Why I Love the Baby of the Man Who Raped Me”