Dr. Henry Morgentaler and “the Goddess with the Golden Breasts”
By John Jalsevac
July 24, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - "My God is a Goddess with golden breasts, dripping milk and honey. A suckling baby am I, nursing at the golden breast." So writes Dr. Henry Morgentaler, Canada’s father of abortion, in one of the poems found in his self-published book of poetry, "Freedom is my Passion."
With Morgentaler having burst once again onto the public stage in recent weeks, after being awarded Canada’s highest civilian honor, the Order of Canada, many people are questioning who exactly Henry Morgentaler is, and what his legacy has been.
While news coverage of the abortion doctor over the years has typically limited itself to his remarks on his role in securing abortion-on-demand in Canada, in recent months there has been an increasing emphasis on exploring Morgentaler the man, catalyzed by the release late last year of the intimate documentary "Henry."
One particularly revealing interview was aired this past January, on the day before the 20th anniversary of the decriminalization of abortion in Canada. In the hard-hitting program, CBC interviewer Evan Solomon delved into some of the more controversial personal details of Morgentaler’s life, particularly his relationships with women. It was during that interview that Morgentaler recited his poem, "Goddess With Golden Breasts."
Morgentaler is well know for being a philanderer, having been married three times, and having had affairs with many other women while married. "I’d say my whole life has been devoted to doing things to get me the love of women," the abortionist candidly admitted in one clip in "Henry."
When asked why he has had so many relationships over the years, Morgentaler - who told Solomon later in the interview that he has been receiving Freudian therapy for "a long time" - responded: "What explains it is my inordinate need to be loved by women.
"Some time along my emotional development," he continued, "I got the impression that my mother didn’t love me, because there was a younger baby that she devoted a lot of attention to, which happens in many families I guess. I personally believe that she neglected me and that she didn’t love me. So, to be loved by women was emotionally to me very important."
"Many people describe you as a womanizer," pressed Solomon. "Do you think that’s fair?"
"Well, I think it’s reasonably fair, yes," responded Morgentaler. "I like women. And there’s no reason why I should apologize for that."
"Even for cheating on your wives?"
"Well, I’m not very proud of that," the abortionist answered. "It’s part of my personality. I can’t say I led a perfect life. But on the whole I think I led a very good life."
Solomon then observed that to some people there might appear to be a contradiction between Morgentaler’s treatment of women as individuals, and his declarations of love and concern for the female sex on the whole.
"I just asked," explains Solomon, "because so much of your life is about women. And you talk about the love of women, protecting them. And yet, some might see that as respect for women as well. And that kind of life may not have exhibited the kind of respect that your practice exhibited. How do you reconcile those two things Henry?"
In response the abortionist admitted that the two apparently contradictory attitudes towards women may very well be irreconcilable.
"That’s a difficult question. But in my mind I reconcile that quite well. But maybe I deluded myself. Maybe there was an inconsistency there," he said.
Solomon then switched subjects, bluntly asking the man who has become one of Canada’s most well-known and notorious figures, "Do you think that one of the drivers for your life was an ego, a need to be the center of attention?"
Morgentaler responded candidly. "Yeah, probably yes. Being the center of attention validates you. It means I’m important. I do important things. I can be recognized for that. And yeah, that was like a leitmotif in most of my life."
Ironically, the abortion doctor, who says he has personally ended the lives of countless thousands of unborn children, answered questions about his recent close brush with death after a stroke and a heart operation, by saying that he feels like "a newborn baby."
"I’m sort of a newborn baby now," he said. "Basically, I enjoy being alive."
Solomon then pressed Morgentaler on the question of how the holocaust survivor, who had seen so much evil and death in the Nazi death camps, then went on "to fight for a cause like abortion, which many people believe is a form of killing. How do you choose, of all the areas to make a difference, that one?"
"It was logical for me, as a survivor of concentration camps," responded the abortionist, "to offer help that women needed to protect their life, the health of their future fertility, and it was almost like a natural progression."
Morgentaler closed off the interview by reading "Goddess with Golden Breasts," a poem which Solomon described as being deeply revealing of who Morgentaler is. The poem is reproduced in full (without the line breaks that appear in the printed text) below:
"My God is a Goddess with golden breasts, dripping milk and honey. A suckling baby am I, nursing at the golden breast. The whole world is one big breast, and I am the suckling. I lie in the Caribbean sun, and the pores of my skin suck in the rays of the sun. I lie in the warm sea, and the pores of my skin suck in the softness and caresses of the water. The sea is a sea of milk, the mountains are giant nipples. The earth in splendor is a mother’s body, producing milk.
"Sometimes I would like to devour the breast that is feeding me, to tear at the nipple and bite it, but could not stand losing it. It feels so good to suck and suck and suck. Sometimes I feel that the nipple drips poison that goes straight to my heart and by a magic power keeps me from growing up, growing out of needing the breast. I spit and reject the poison milk. I hit and curse the breast and mother. I smash the goddess to bits, and then I look at myself, helpless, small and hungry and cry. And the mother goddess appears, the golden nipples full of milk and honey and I suck again, and drink again, and again I’m a little suckling."
To see the complete CBC program with Evan Solomon, see: