Rest in Peace, Doctor

Rest in Peace, Doctor February 22, 2011

According to the National Catholic Register, Dr. Bernard Nathanson has died at the age of 84 in New York after suffering from cancer. For those not familiar with Dr. Nathanson, he helped legalize abortion in America and was one of the founding members of what is now known as NARAL- National Abortion Rights Action League.  He (edited: is responsible for) 75,000 abortions in his life. Two of his own children died from abortion, one of which he performed. It was when he viewed a live abortion via ultrasound that his eyes were opened and he could see. In 1996 Nathanson became a Catholic and was known for fasting for long periods in repentance.

Great is God’s mercy!


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  • As a child of 15, I was present for an abortion. It was my own child being aborted. I really had no concept at the time of what was happening. It was not bloody or gruesome in any way.

    Once the vacuum pump was started I began to feel something, a vibe if you will that all others including the mother appeared to be oblivious to. It felt as though I was rapidly coming down with some illness.

    I managed to stay by my girlfriend’s side until the procedure was complete. I then literally staggered outside and then spent nearly an hour vomiting uncontrollably past the point of dry heaves.

    Despite my lack of awareness coming in that day, I knew what had just happened and I felt it so profoundly that words cannot express it.

    While I will never aid any pro-life group in any way because I believe just as strongly that their approach is corrupted and more importantly, misguided, I work very hard to persuade people that this must end, and that we will only end it through the purity of love and the light provided by knowledge.

    It not only does the obvious damage, it tells kids that are already born to this earth what we truly feel about the value of life. Just as I intuitively knew it that day, they do too, until one day when they become older and tune things out like everyone in that room with me that day did.

    Children know. Is it any wonder so many of them casually turn guns on other kids and take them out of this world as if they have thrown a light switch?

    I pray for the good Doctor as I pray for the souls lost including my own dear child.

    It must end.

    • Cindy

      Thank you for sharing that Gisher. I know it would take a lot to speak so openly about something like that. Tonight I will pray right along with you. For what I sometimes lack in words, I carry these stories inside of me and I will think of you tonight in my prayers.

    • RCM

      God’s peace be with you. Prayers for all of those involved.

    • Bruce in Kansas

      Amen, brother.

  • hazemyth

    I think he claimed that he was responsible for 75,000 abortions. Given that he was a licensed obstetrician for less than 20 years prior to his conversion to a Pro-Life position, he would have had to performed more than 3,500 abortions per year (or about 10 per day every day of the year) to have actually performed 75,000 abortions in total.

    • RCM

      Thank you, Hazemyth. You are correct. Evidently he trained others to be abortionists, hence the huge number. I will correct it.

  • May he be with God, and may Dr. Nathanson pray for us, too.

  • Thales

    I’m in the middle of reading “UnPlanned”, the story of Abby Johnson, a former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic who, after close to 10 years working for PP, renounced PP and became “pro-life.”

    I think the Vox Nova posters might appreciate the book – Abby gives an extremely honest and sympathetic view of the abortion debate from the PP side, as Abby and her PP co-workers were truly well-meaning folks trying to help women. Abby describes the excesses of the pro-life side that really turned her off from the pro-life position and which made her even more committed to the rightness of PP’s cause. When I read this, I wondered whether those Vox Nova posters who are big critics of the pro-life side might appreciate Abby’s perspective.

    (As I said, I’m only half-way through, so I don’t yet know Abby’s final opinion on the pro-life/pro-abortion debate.

    • RCM

      I am interested in reading her book, especially after a Catholic pro-life blogger was critical of how nice Abby is towards her former coworkers and how little grief she showed about her own abortions. The post brought to mind a story a friend of mine told me. She was involved in a post-abortion healing ministry and she was doing a presentation for a group of pro-lifers and a man stood up and asked her if she didn’t think that women who had aborted needed to do some serious penance and public repentance. She was appalled. She told him “you have no idea what drove these women to abort.” I just thank God that He is more merciful than we are to each other!

    • Thales

      RCM and Pentimento,
      Abby Johnson also had 2 abortions, and she talks about her experience in the book.

    • brettsalkeld

      Sounds interesting. And since she’s got a lot more street cred with the pro-lifers than the Vox Novans who always come under their fire maybe her critique’s will get more traction.

  • Oh, absolutely, RCM. As a formerly pro-choice, now pro-life, post-abortive mother who was raised in a dissenting Catholic family and received a dramatic conversion, I can say that the pro-life movement is chock-full of the Prodigal’s older brothers. It’s human nature to take the older brother’s part, of course.

    It’s often said that post-abortive women and men will be the real tide-turners in changing hearts from the pro-abortion-rights side to the anti- side. But it appears to me that there is some real squeamishness in the pro-life movement about the presence of us sinful women.

  • Matt Bowman

    I think every large movement is going to have lots of people whose ideas are goofy or uninformed. But I know of few components of the pro-life movement that are so universally respected as the post-abortion ministries and post-abortion people. Every pro-life leader speaks well of them, listens to them, and encourages their efforts. The most hated “pro-life movement” evildoers villified on this blog are the most supportive of post-abortive ministries: Fr. Pavone, AUL, NRLC, the pro-life office of the USCCB (and its evil views against Obamacare), and on and on. Chock-full of prodigal older brothers? Again, a movement made up of millions is going to have lots of every kind of people, including unformed people who are “squeamish about about the presence of us sinful women.” And I have no doubt that the uninformed are also not humble enough to keep their mouths shut about their ignorance, and that they cause post-abortive women special and unjust grief. But proportionally, those prodigal older brothers are a vast minority in the “pro-life movement” villified on this blog. Criticize that movement for what it believes, but not for what it does not believe.

    • Matt, if you read my comment more carefully, you will see that I noted that it’s human nature to identify with the Prodigal Son’s older brother. In other words, I was not restricting the judgmentalism I described, nor the squeamishness, to the pro-life movement. In fact, I was ascribing it to all of humanity.

      And again, you might also notice that I qualified my statement by asserting that “it appears [this way] to me.” In other words, I was speaking anecdotally, from my own personal experiences. I was not asserting that things, people, or movements ARE the way I described them. I was simply describing my own subjective perceptions.

      As for the vilification of “hated ‘pro-life movement’ evildoers,” I won’t defend myself, because I have never vilified the pro-life movement on this blog. As a matter of fact, I personally contacted Fr. Frank Pavone when I lived in the Archdiocese of New York, because I wanted to clarify a point my parish priest had brought up to me when I went to him for counseling after having three pregnancy losses in a row. My priest suggested that God was chastising me for having committed the sin of abortion many years prior. Fr. Pavone essentially refuted this claim.

      I’m well-acquainted with some prominent people in post-abortion ministry, including the Sisters of Life, and they do brilliant work. And I stand by my own personal experience, too, of having inadvertently caused discomfort among pro-lifers by “coming out” about being post-abortive.

    • RCM

      Uh, Matt, who are talking to? I was only pointing out my friend’s experience and the blog post of a prominent Catholic blog, which I will not link to. My friend’s experience is valid.