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Who is Dr. Bernard Nathanson, the original founder of the abortion movement, and what prompted his conversion, in more ways than one?
Bernard N. Nathanson (July 31, 1926 – February 21, 2011) was an American medical doctor and co-founder, in 1969, of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL), later renamed National Abortion Rights Action League. He was also the former director of New York City’s Center for Reproductive and Sexual Health, but later became an anti-abortion activist. He was the narrator for the controversial 1984 anti-abortion film The Silent Scream.
Source: Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Nathanson
I had not heard of Dr. Nathanson until recently, but I remember the first time I heard the word abortion.
My good friend and classmate had become pregnant, and her family was seeking an abortion for her that involved crossing state lines. She was underage. I was shocked because I not only had never known anyone who had had one, but we were just entering high school, and this was unheard of. She was also from an Italian-Catholic family. She tearfully called me and asked if I was spreading this rumor about her condition at school. I knew nothing about it I said, that this was the first I had heard of it, and I assured her that her secret was safe with me. She was afraid. Abortion was not legal in Pennsylvania then.
This was the late 1960s, and society was rapidly changing, but we were still a naïve and innocent culture in so many ways compared to today.
I learned of an eye-opening interview by a woman named Terry Beatley, the author who wrote “What If We’ve Been Wrong?” When she began researching the beginning of the abortion movement, she tried to contact Dr. Nathanson. His wife said he rarely gave interviews but consented. She traveled to speak to him and found him in very ill health with cancer. He spoke openly to her, revealing how he had joined with Lawrence Lader to form NARAL and felt responsible for 75,000 abortions. That was just the beginning of his remorseful confession.
He revealed to her that his lightning bolt conversion moment began with the introduction of the “real-time ultrasound machine,” brought into the hospital that he managed. He watched a baby in the womb, yawning and stretching, moving around with facial expressions. He saw the pain experienced by the fragile life within the mother’s womb as it was being aborted. He was not only shocked and mortified, but he became deeply depressed and suicidal for years, realizing his participation had forwarded an unstoppable movement that he claimed was entirely based on lies. He experienced constant nightmares and physical pain and sought relief through drugs and alcohol, and then sought spiritual guidance.
This is the first I have ever heard of his conversion. Generations of young women don’t know of his sorrowful experience and confession. The following is his story, as told to Ms. Beatley as part of a series. It is only on Part 5, but I feel that this urgent message cannot wait. I hope you will give a listen, and through Robert Moynihan, Ph.D., editor-in-chief of Inside the Vatican magazine, you can follow each segment. He will post the entire program in total at the conclusion.
It is the holy season for Christians and Jews. I love the movie “A Christmas Carol,” based on the novella by Charles Dickens, and watch every version — my favorite being the one with Ebenezer Scrooge played by the great Alastair Sim. This new information about Dr. Nathanson, which is not getting any news coverage, reminds me of the death scene where Scrooge’s partner, Jacob Marley, is on his deathbed and lifts a withered, pointy finger to Scrooge and whispers with his last breath …
“We were wrong … Save yourself.”
I feel like this is Dr. Nathanson’s message.Published in