There’s no doubt in my mind that Dr. Henry Morgentaler is a man.
That being said, I think he’s the perfect candidate to represent the women of New Brunswick in a civil suit against the government over funding of abortions.
Morgentaler launched the suit back in 2002 against the N.B. government because of their policy of funding abortions only if two doctors give consent and the procedure is performed in a hospital.
Abortions performed in private clinics, such as Morgentaler’s, are not covered by provincial medicare and can cost anywhere from $475 to $725.
The province argues Morgentaler should not be allowed to file suit against the government on behalf of the women of the province. They say only women who use the clinic should be allowed to file this particular suit.
Morgentaler already won the right to sue back in August 2008, but the province appealed the decision. On January 13, the Court of Appeal announced they would reserve their decision until a later, undisclosed, date.
In a perfect world, yes, a woman would be filing this suit. And she’d have enough money for a big shot lawyer to represent her, as well.
But, I suppose, in a perfect world we wouldn’t need to file this suit in the first place.
Morgentaler has the money, and there is no doubt in my mind that he has women’s best interests — and rights —at heart.
Feminism, at least the brand that I subscribe to, is about equality and if the best person for the job just so happens to be a man, so be it. Even if that job is defending the rights of women.
Dipping a little deeper into feminist theory, the state — played here by the N.B. government — is hegemonic patriarchy incarnate. Women occupy seven out 55 legislature seats, with predominantly white men rounding out the rest (not all are old, to be fair.)
Morgentaler is an old, white man but he’s fought against hegemony and patriarchy to bring abortion rights to the women of this country since the late 1960s, and continues to do so.
A Holocaust survivor and abortion defender, Morgentaler knows what it means to be oppressed and persecuted. He has always occupied the margins, been on the outside looking in, and unfortunately, so are most women — especially the ones too poor to afford an abortion in N.B.
I look forward to the day where I won’t have to write about abortion issues in Canada anymore. But until then, I’m glad Morgentaler is giving me something to write about.