TORONTO - Abortion rights activist Dr. Henry Morgentaler said Wednesday he's honoured to receive the Order of Canada and that the country has set an example for other countries to emulate.
Morgentaler, best known for taking the issue of abortion rights to the Supreme Court and striking down the country's abortion laws in 1988, said he feels that "finally now, the government recognizes my contribution to Canadian women."
"I hope that Canada has set an example and that internationally people and governments will respond to it," Morgentaler, 85, said at a media conference at his clinic.
Morgentaler said abortions are safer and more accessible thanks to his efforts and he believes he deserves the award.
"Now, in this country... abortion has become one of the safest surgical techniques," he said.
"The safety and health of women has been preserved and I'm very proud of that."
Abortion rights groups applauded the decision, announced Tuesday, saying Morgentaler put his life and liberty on the line to advance women's rights.
Opponents of abortion say the Order of Canada should unite Canadians and not divide them.