Bernard Nathanson, who went from helping found the pro-choice organization NARAL (the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws), and directing the world’s largest abortion clinic, to becoming a leading pro-life activist and committed Catholic who authored books and created documentaries that have been used to expose the abortion industry, died this week at the age of 84. Bill Muehlenberg wrote a great piece chronicling his life, below is a selection:
The pro-abortion activists have always claimed that thousands of women died each year in America before the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision to legalise abortion. Nathanson helped to make up this figure of 5,000 to 10,000 deaths a year.
He said this about it: “I confess that I knew the figures were totally false, and I suppose the others did too if they stopped to think of it. But in the ‘morality’ of our revolution, it was a useful figure, widely accepted, so why go out of our way to correct it with honest statistics? The overriding concern was to get the laws eliminated, and anything within reason that had to be done was permissible.”
Nathanson went on to describe the real figures: “In 1967 … the federal government listed only 160 deaths from illegal abortion. In the last year before [Roe v Wade], 1972, the total was only 39 deaths”. While 39 deaths are too many, the figure must be held up to the 1.5 million babies killed each year in the US since 1973.
Jim Hughes, President of Canada’s Campaign Life Coalition, recounted the following comical experience:
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“He’ll be greatly missed. His story is an unbelievable story,” said Hughes, who recalled one time when Nathanson debated Canada’s “father of abortion,” abortionist Henry Morgentaler. “It was rather comical,” said Hughes “When Morgentaler put forward his ideas and his defense for the practice of abortion, and Nathanson laughed and said, ‘I invented all those phrases! I invented those statistics.’ It was quite the experience.”