Letting the 9-month miracle take place
Never mind that Bernard N. Nathanson, M.D. had presided over some 60,000 abortions. Forget that he founded the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), ran the world’s largest abortion clinic, and played a major role in making abortion legal in the
Never mind that the doctor was responsible for all this and more, for after over 30 years of relying on his own wisdom and literally sucking the life off tens of thousands of babies, Nathanson—who premiered The Silent Scream, the 1985 movie that documented the abortion of a fetus—began to entertain the notion of a God. Years later, after much searching and deliberating, he stopped performing abortions all together. Still some years after that, the man who had no shred of doubt that he was doing an important service to his patients, crossed over to the other side and became an outspoken advocate of choosing life over death for unborn children.
Much as Nathanson’s journey since the 1940s has involved the question of the existence of a God, he clarifies that his choice to respect the lives of the unborn has “nothing to do with anything religious.” What paved the way for this decision? A landmark technological development in the 1970s.
Anybody who has viewed even parts of The Silent Scream can perceive the kind of violence that a child in the womb experiences. The film depicts, through an ultrasound machine, a 12-week-old fetus being torn to pieces in utero by the combination of suction and crushing instruments by the abortionist. The final version of the movie was first shown in
Brutal as the procedure is, it still goes on in different parts of the world—from run-down alleys to luxurious neighborhoods. In countries like the
The “need” for abortion in the
“[Poverty] is not a medical problem but a social problem,” he asserted. “Doctors should not be forced to provide the solution. If it is a social problem, it requires a social solution.”
Each abortion represents a social failure of government and of the people, he said. “We’re just failing our women, our families. The solution is not to kill—if this were the case, why not kill everybody. Or why not [focus on] retarded people who don’t measure up [to society’s standards]? In fact, we’re all candidates to be destroyed as well,” he quipped, a smile passing across his face. “Those of us wearing glasses, we’re draining society.”
When asked what he would tell a woman who, for one reason or another, wants to have an abortion or who believes that terminating her unborn children’s life is the right thing to do, the doctor, who spoke with the media accompanied by his son Joseph, paused and thought for a moment. “Hmm, that’s a good question. I’ll answer it with a story.”
He cited the experiment of “two investigators, Fletcher and Evans” in the 1980s who gathered a group of 10 pregnant women who were decided on having their pregnancies terminated. The two had the women watch the abortion process on an ultrasound machine. What happened afterwards? “Nine out of the 10 changed their minds and didn’t push through with the [planned] abortion.”
Nathanson added that in similar studies involving groups of 10 women, majority of them were jolted enough by the sight of the baby being torn to pieces to spare their unborn children from going through the same thing.
“So the more information given to women about the fetal state—when we are residents in the womb—the better. As the Chinese say, a picture is worth a thousand words—and if you’re a rational person, seeing what happens in the womb could put a dent on your enthusiasm to destroy,” the doctor mused.
The deep involvement of Nathanson—who authored The Hand of God: A Journey from Death to Life by the Abortion Doctor Who Changed His Mind (Regnery Publishing Inc., 1996)—in the pro-choice movement apparently has its advantages. Among the fruits of his being a moving spirit of the movement is his familiarity with strategies used to advance the cause.
He cited the blowing up of figures as a normal practice in the promotion of the pro-choice cause, since such a distortion of facts is a convenient and often effective means of persuading the public about the righteousness and urgency of the principles being fought for.
“At NARAL, one of our favorite tactics was to distort and magnify statistics. We would say, for instance, that there were one million illegal abortions and that 10,000 women died in the United States [because of these illegal abortions], when actual studies would show something like 200,000 illegal abortions and only 200-300 died,” he stated.
Talking again about the incidence of abortion in any society and its relation to legislation, Nathanson said, “Abortion will always be with us, but that’s not a reason to institutionalize it. I have gone over the speed limit sometimes, and people would be happier if they didn’t have to pay any taxes, but that’s no reason to eliminate speed limits and to strike down tax laws. It just ain’t gonna happen,” he stressed. “What we have to do is not proceed on a utilitarian basis.” Hopefully, Filipinos will recognize the folly of that corrupt path and avoid it.
“We need to proceed toward a moral and ethical direction. Avoid using violence to answer social problems,” he added.
Photo by Amy Arbus for O Magazine.
posted by sunnyday at 10:59 AM