Dr. Bernard Nathanson died yesterday at the age of 84. He was famous as a leading abortionist who converted to the pro-life cause.
Dr. Nathanson, an atheist who was an ethnic Jew, had founded the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (known today as NARAL ProChoice America). He personally conducted or oversaw thousands of abortions. Dr. Nathanson was the first to argue that the child in the womb is only part of “a woman's body,” and was among those who coined the word “choice” to describe the abortion of one's child.
With the advent of modern technology, however, Dr. Nathanson began to have a change of heart. His famous 1985 film, Silent Scream, depicted sonogram images of a real abortion, the first major use of technology on behalf of the pro-life cause. Dr. Nathanson produced another film and authored a number of books. In one of them, he lamented his responsibility for ushering in a “barbaric age” through abortion.
Dr. Nathanson later converted to Catholicism and conducted much penance to atone for his sins. His conversion from the Culture of Death to the Culture of Life was also made by the two women, Jane Roe and Jane Doe, whose United States Supreme Court cases, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton led to legalized abortion in the U.S., meaning that all three of the most important pro-abortion pioneers all converted to the pro-life cause. Dr. Nathanson's testimony inspired many others to convert or to become active on behalf of the Culture of Life.
May the example of Dr. Bernard Nathanson continue to inspire us to defend life and to use technology to better serve God and man. May Dr. Nathanson rest in peace.