Thursday, August 27, 2009

Henry Morgentaler..Champion of Women?

I was doing some research when I came across this 1997 article about Catherine Dunphy's biography of Henry Morgentaler:

Close friends acknowledged that his break-ups, one he tired of a woman, "were often abrupt and careless. Many times his liaisons overlapped, making the women feel betrayed as well as abandoned...there was talk that [he] was a chauvinist, insensitive to individual women." But author Dunphy valiantly defends this so-called champion of women's rights. His litany of sexual exploits are his "emotional protection," and he views women as sexual objects because he has an "exuberant, spontaneous, sensual and needing side."

That the doctor is in general a hedonist she makes abundantly clear in a narrative littered with references to his aggressive pursuits of pleasure. He hosts innumerable lavish parties, drops acid and smokes marijuana, visits a sex guru camp and a "feel good" hippie haven, buys luxurious homes, attends a "laughter and play" conference, and takes countless long and expensive holidays around the world. Nevertheless, notwithstanding the fact he was taking a Club Med holiday every six weeks, she insists that "he never became addicted to the finer things [money] could buy."

An abortionist who's a dopehead. What a concept. That would just inspire such confidence in me, if I were in his patient.

This revelation is pretty funny, considering a quote Morgentaler made in the 1960's as he began his crusade to legalize abortion:

Some doctors who've become abortionists, especially in the past, were on the fringes of the medical profession. They were often failures at their profession, sometimes shady characters, alcoholics, sexual perverts, drug addicts. Almost always, their patients suffered-- from lack of emotion support, absence of competent back-up team or medical incompetence. Medical lore has it that some doctors were doing abortion out of compassion, but at the time of my dilemma, I could find none of that kind in Montreal or anywhere else in reasonable travelling distance."

Morgentaler: The Man Who Couldn't Turn Away
. by Eleanor Wright Pelrine, p. 29.