updated 9/11/2008 3:21:44 PM ET 2008-09-11T19:21:44

The archbishop of Montreal is returning a prestigious Canadian award because a doctor who performs abortions received the same honor.

Archbishop Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte said Thursday that he hoped officials would change their decision to give Dr. Henry Morgentaler the Order of Canada in July.

Turcotte received the award in 1996. He says he is relinquishing the honor because his silence could be misinterpreted.

Morgentaler led a successful campaign to overturn Canada's anti-abortion laws in 1988.

The Polish-born Morgantaler who survived the Dachau concentration camp and quit his family practice in Montreal in 1968 to open his first abortion clinic in defiance of Canadian law.

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