Thursday, 13 October 2011

From abortionist to pro-life activist - Nathanson's story

I am grateful to Dr Peter Saunders for highlighting a new review of Dr Bernard Nathanson's (pictured) book The Hand of God, which recounts Dr Nathanson's conversion from being both an abortionist and a member of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws to becoming a pro-life activist. Dr Nathanson eventually went on to become a Catholic. I have posted before on Dr Nathanson's invaluable insights for the whole pro-life movement. Dr Nathanson sadly passed away earlier this year.

Trevor Stammers, programme director in bioethics and medical law at St Mary’s University College, London, has reviewed Dr Nathanson's book in this week's edition of the British Medical Journal. In his post Dr Saunders covers the essential elements of Dr Nathanson's heroic story:
He [Trevor Stammers] describes how Nathanson ‘found the tensions of the “moral whipsaw” of both aborting and delivering babies were becoming intolerable’ and later ‘became seized by “an unremitting black despair”’ which led eventually to his Christian conversion'.

I will leave you to read the review for yourself but I was interested also to find Nathanson’s ‘confession’ on line which gives insights into how he and others worked to legalise and popularise abortion in the United States:

‘I am personally responsible for 75,000 abortions. This legitimises my credentials to speak to you with some authority on the issue. I was one of the founders of the National Association for the Repeal of the Abortion Laws (NARAL) in the U.S. in 1968. A truthful poll of opinion then would have found that most Americans were against permissive abortion. Yet within five years we had convinced the U.S. Supreme Court to issue the decision which legalised abortion throughout America in 1973 and produced virtual abortion on demand up to birth. How did we do this? It is important to understand the tactics involved because these tactics have been used throughout the western world with one permutation or another, in order to change abortion law.’

What were these tactics? Essentially three:

1.Lie to the media about the true number of illegal abortions
2.Pretend that all opposition was Catholic
3.Denigrate and suppress all scientific evidence that life begins at conception

For more detail see Nathanson’s confession.
Comments on this blog? Email them to
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Like SPUC's Facebook Page
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy