Dr. Bernard Nathanson, the former atheist/abortionist who killed 60,000 babies before becoming one of the pro-life movement’s strongest advocates, was remembered today in a funeral mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. He was 84.
The former chief of obstetrics and gynecology for the Northeast Air Command of the Air Force, Dr. Nathanson credited his dramatic conversion from promoting death to preserving life to seeing a single picture, or more precisely, experiencing the wonder of ultrasound technology.
“For the first time, we could really see the human fetus,” he wrote in 1996 of his 1979 conversion, “measure it, observe it, watch it and indeed bond with it and love it.”
Dr. Nathanson’s heart was changed when he saw that a baby truly was a baby – and not a blob of tissue.
Put another way, he stopped believing the lie – and began embracing the truth.
When Nathanson announced his change of heart, he was blunt and to the point, especially when talking about tactics the abortion industry regularly embraced in the years following Roe v. Wade:
“The first key tactic was to capture the media. We aroused enough sympathy to sell our program of permissive abortion by fabricating the number of illegal abortions done annually in the U.S….Repeating the big lie often enough convinces the public.”
Years later Bernard Nathanson would tell Dr. Robbie George that he was “converted to the cause of life only because he was converted to the cause of truth.”
Thirty-five years ago, Nathanson asked two provocative questions – questions that the abortion industry has never adequately answered:
1. Parents may not abandon their children; why should they be encouraged to abandon their children-to-be?
2. One race ought not exploit another; why should the already-born be allowed to exploit the not-yet-born?
The reason why abortion advocates can’t answer the two questions stems from the fact that the industry is built upon a lie – primarily that a baby isn’t really a life deserving of protection until it breathes fresh air.
As we remember the life of Dr. Nathanson, a very faulted man whose hands were responsible for 60,000 deaths prior to his conversion, my thoughts turn to Dr. Kermit Gosnell. You will recall that Dr. Gosnell is an abortionist recently arrested for murdering babies after birth in Philadelphia.
Dr. Gosnell is awaiting trial. In the wake of the horror, we pray for justice. But I am also inclined to pray for a conversion like Dr. Nathanson’s for Kermit Gosnell. From a human perspective we might wonder whether this man is capable of turning from darkness to light even at this late hour? I don’t know. Is his heart penetrable? In the long life of Dr. Nathanson, I think we have learned that no man is beyond hope or out of reach of ultimate redemption.