Dates: 31 July 1926 to 21 February 2011
Occupation: Doctor, former abortionist and founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League; latterly a pro-life activist.
Nathanson was a leading figure in the American pro-choice movement, and played an active part in the Roe v Wade case that fundamentally changed America’s abortion laws. He was director of New York’s largest abortion clinic and was personally involved with more than 75,000 abortions, including that of his own unborn child.
The development of ultrasound caused him to re-evaluate both his views on abortion and his life in general. He became a strong supporter of the pro-life movement in the US and produced the short documentary film The Silent Scream. His Confession of an Ex-Abortionist, written after he had ceased to perform abortions but before he became a Christian, provides an insight into the tactics of the pro-abortion groups.
Nathanson had been a Jewish atheist before he converted to Catholicism in 1996.
“[Abortion is] the most atrocious holocaust in the history of the United States.”
“We persuaded the media that the cause of permissive abortion was a liberal, enlightened, sophisticated one. Knowing that if a true poll were taken, we would be soundly defeated, we simply fabricated the results of fictional polls. We announced to the media that we had taken polls and that 60 percent of Americans were in favor of permissive abortion. This is the tactic of the self-fulfilling lie. Few people care to be in the minority. We aroused enough sympathy to sell our program of permissive abortion by fabricating the number of illegal abortions done annually in the U.S. The actual figure was approaching 100,000, but the figure we gave to the media repeatedly was 1,000,000.”
“Another myth we fed to the public through the media was that legalizing abortion would only mean that the abortions taking place illegally would then be done legally. In fact, of course, abortion is now being used as a primary method of birth control in the U.S. and the annual number of abortions has increased by 1,500 percent since legalization.”
“Dignity is intrinsic within the human being. It is given to us by God. It is untouchable. You cannot have your dignity taken away or enhanced or reduced.”
“Most of the priests whom I have encountered across this country [the USA] and indeed around the world, shy away from the subject of abortion. They somehow want to keep it under the rug and only pull it out when they're ordered to. In my own experience as a Catholic convert for the last several years, I've attended a great many Masses and listened to a great many homilies and I believe in three years I've listened to only one homily on the subject of abortion.”
(Interview with Priests for Life.)
© Ray Chidell 2011