Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star IN RESPONSE to the letter to the editor with the title “Think you have control over your own body, ladies?” [Feb. 6], I would like to share a counterpoint from Dr. Bernard Nathanson, co-founder of NARAL, America’s largest abortion lobby group.
On Dec. 1, 2009, I flew to New York to interview Dr. Nathanson, who felt personally responsible for killing 75,000 children while he advanced unfettered abortion in the 1970s, and gave me a message to carry to America. I promised him I would carry his message and never stop.
The author of the letter, asked: “How is forcing [a pregnant woman] to carry a baby to term with a serious deformity going to help anyone?” and “Do you think you have autonomy over your own body?” She voiced her complaint that Del. Mark Cole was patron of a bill that would repeal taxpayer funding of the state’s Medicaid program for women who choose to kill their babies in the womb due to physical deformity or mental deficiency. The author saw nothing positive or good in bringing a baby like this to full-term.
Dr. Nathanson had answers to these questions; if I could share them with the author over a cup of coffee, this is what I would say.
As I entered Dr. Nathanson’s apartment that December day, I observed a feeble man in his 80s. Too shaky to stand to his feet, he welcomed me to sit beside him while I asked my questions. I listened intently, sometimes with tears in my eyes, as his story unfolded. His decisions affected the course of American history and the lives of millions of Americans.
In 1969, with the help of a public relations firm, Dr. Nathanson and a few other people caught the nation by surprise and framed the debate over legalizing–or, rather, decriminalizing–abortion. The co-founders of NARAL invented the slogans of “freedom of choice” and “women must have control over their own bodies.” Framing the debate away from the morality–or immorality–of killing another person, he and his team set out on a course to change public opinion and lay the groundwork for Roe v. Wade.
To gain the public’s acceptance of decriminalized abortion, he and his colleagues fabricated poll results, making it appear that the majority of Americans wanted legalized abortion, and disseminated this information to the media. In addition, they lied about the number of illegal abortions performed annually in the U.S., consistently citing 1 million abortions a year when only about 100,000 were being performed.
The co-founder of NARAL also explained how they marketed the idea that legalizing abortion would not increase the overall number of abortions–a claim that is now preposterous considering that a million people a year lose their lives to abortion. Reflecting on the sinister nature of the death industry, it was obvious he was remorseful for partaking in this national deception.
A Change of Heart
Four years after co-founding the nation’s largest pro-abortion lobby group, Dr. Nathanson saw the error of his ways and became pro-life. With the help of the new and improved ultrasound and electronic fetal heart monitoring, a second patient was revealed: a baby, a baby with a beating heart, puckering his lips, stretching his little arms.
Shattering his pro-abortion world, founded on lies and deception, Dr. Nathanson turned from being pro-abortion and began to tell the truth. He even made an in-utero film called “Silent Scream,” which shows an abortion taking place. Revealing a baby squirming away from the suction tube, a little mouth open in an inaudible cry, “Silent Scream” was seen and “heard” around the country.
Dr. Nathanson knew what we all really know in our hearts: The baby is not the woman’s body. Therein is the lie that the co-founder of NARAL started. Once we recognize the humanity of the baby, who temporarily lives inside his mother, the argument, not the baby, is dead. Regardless of how deformed or ugly, he or she has the gift of life, and every life is precious. No child’s life should be taken. A woman can do what she wants with her body, but the baby living inside her is a separate and genetically distinct human being with every right to live.
When a nation and a government violate this principle of life, everyone’s rights are abrogated. The same lie supported slavery; the same lie undergirded the Holocaust the notion that someone is less than human.
I asked Dr. Nathanson what message he wanted me to carry throughout our nation, and he softly said to me: “Tell them to love one another. Abortion is not love.”
As his hands trembled while reaching for a cup of water, I was thankful that since 1973 his life had been put to good use, proclaiming a message of life and love, not death and deception. He died on Feb. 21, 2011, but his message will never stop. Loving babies and protecting the gift of life, no matter how short or difficult, are the right things to do.
When America can do that again, everyone’s right to life is protected and the “worth” of someone’s life will never be measured by somebody else’s scale. This protects the individual’s right to life and benefits society as a whole.