Abortion doctor who became pro-life dies

Wed, 2 Mar 2011

An American doctor who oversaw tens of thousands of abortions but later experienced a remarkable change of heart and became a pro-life campaigner has died.

Dr Bernard Nathanson campaigned in favour of abortion and was also director of what he later called “the largest abortion clinic in the Western world.”

But his unease about abortion, both medically and morally, grew and in 1974 he said: “I am deeply troubled by my own increasing certainty that I had in fact presided over 60,000 deaths.”

Powerful

Dr Nathanson’s concern about abortion was intensified by images made available by ultrasound and fetoscopy.

“For the first time, we could really see the human fetus, measure it, observe it, watch it, and indeed bond with it and love it”, he wrote in 1996.

Dr Nathanson stopped performing abortions in the late 70s and later narrated the powerful pro-life film, The Silent Scream.

In the 28-minute film, Dr Nathanson describes the stages of fetal development and offers commentary as a sonogram shows, in detail, the abortion of a 12-week-old baby.

Ultrasound

Dr Nathanson, who in the 90s converted to Roman Catholicism, is survived by his wife Christine and a son, Joseph.

In 2009 the director of an abortion clinic in Texas quit her job after watching ultrasound footage of an abortion – and joined a pro-life group which were protesting outside the facility.

Abby Johnson spent eight years working at the Planned Parenthood centre in Bryan, Texas, two of them as director.

Miss Johnson said her growing disillusionment with the pro-abortion movement reached “breaking point” when she watched an ultrasound of an abortion taking place.

She said: “Finally what happened one day was I actually was in the room when a different type of abortion procedure was being done. And that day I just thought, I can’t do this anymore”.

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