Former Abortionist Bernard Nathanson Became Pro-Life When He Saw Something Amazing

Opinion   Dave Andrusko   Mar 14, 2018   |   8:04AM    Washington, DC

Our church, like many, sponsors missionaries. We have one in particular who is the kind of charismatic figure whose preaching someday will reach a vast audience.

We were exchanging emails and texts this week. We’d talked many times about how he chosen his path (or how it was chosen for him) but we’d never talked about those events many, many years ago which culminated with me throwing my lot in with the greatest movement for social justice of our times. He asked me about it.

We talked briefly. The following is a synopsis of my entry point into the movement which I had alluded to in years past. I offer it not because it is unique. In fact, in some ways my experience was typical, in other ways not so much, but in all ways (as is the case with many of you reading this post), it was a turning point in my life.

I was already an adult by the time of Roe v. Wade but in my innocence I had missed the decade-long battle over “abortion reform” that preceded the 1973 decision that demolished the abortion statutes of all 50 states.

My portal, so to speak, was a combination of a predisposition to protecting the unborn (I was the oldest of seven kids) and the soul-shocking impact of the video presentation and book, Whatever Happened to the Human Race? the classic work of former Surgeon General C. Everett Kopp and theologian Francis Schaeffer which awakened millions of Evangelical Christians.

Unbeknownst to me, in the mid-seventies I was being primed. Like tens of millions of others, I needed to be activated. Sitting in that Presbyterian Church in South Minneapolis, images from Whatever Happened to the Human Race? were seared into my memory.

But if my progression from sympathetic bystander to activist seems in retrospect almost inevitable, it is just as true that many of the most articulate, thoughtful pro-life champions started out just as “naturally” on the other side. By that I mean when you listen to their accounts, you understand that in the intellectual and cultural environments in which they were raised, talk of “sanctity of life” and “equal rights for unborn children” would be virtually unintelligible.

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“Huh?” would often be their response.

Who do I have in mind? To take two examples—the late Dr. Bernard Nathanson, author of “Aborting America” and producer of “The Silent Scream” video; and Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Greenberg wrote a typically eloquent op-ed when Dr. Nathanson died.

Paul keenly explained how Dr. Nathanson, by his own count, was “responsible” for over 75,000 abortions (“His ideals were those of the enlightened, modern urban America of his time, which was the mid- to late 20th century”) and how he emerged from the darkness, thanks to the light of medical technology (initially the newest EKG and ultrasound imagery).

Paul writes how he could “identify” with Nathanson. He himself had bought into the soothing reassurances that Roe “was not blanket permission for abortion, but a carefully crafted, limited decision applicable only in some exceptional cases. Which was all a lot of hooey, but I swallowed it, and regurgitated it in editorials.”

I want you to read Paul’s column, so I will offer just this one quote:

“With a little verbal manipulation [verbicide], any crime can be rationalized, even promoted,” Greenberg writes. “The trick is to speak of fetuses, not unborn children. So long as the victims are a faceless abstraction, anything can be done to them.

“Just don’t look too closely at those sonograms. We are indeed strangely and wondrously made.”

Again you can read Paul’s column at Jewish World Review. The headline is very telling:

“The Doctor Who Saw What He Did” Note: Dave Andrusko is the editor of National Right to Life News and an author and editor of several books on abortion topics. This post originally appeared in at National Right to Life News Today —- an online column on pro-life issues.