We Must Address the Bioethical Issues of Our Day

After his conversion from being a pro-abortion leader to being a pro-life activist, Dr. Bernard Nathanson began talking about the new bioethical challenges of our day. Before “stem cells” hit the headlines, he was predicting that they would be the subject of daily news stories. He became a bioethicist and urged the Church to be at the forefront of these issues, so that it would not be caught asleep again, as he said it was when he launched the abortion rights movement.

Now is the time to heed fully his warning, and to cast aside our fears of dealing with issues like stem cells, genetic engineering, and tampering with the biological basis of our species. Let’s encourage study and prophetic teaching by clergy and laity alike on these bioethical issues.

God’s Mercy is Infinite

In light of the passing of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, the pro-life movement continues reflecting on his life. I will never forget the workshop at which I introduced him at the 1994 Human Life International Conference in Irvine, CA. He was supposed to talk about chemical abortion, but at the last minute decided instead to speak of his spiritual journey. At the end of the talk, he said that he was standing on the brink of conversion to the Catholic Church. The room exploded. People were leaping into the air. He said that he hoped God could forgive him, and I said, ‘Dr. Nathanson, He already has,’ and I reminded him of that exchange just a week before he died. Many have turned away from the abortion industry; let’s encourage them to trust in God’s mercy.

The Church Must Remain Vigilant

One of the many lessons from the life of former abortionist Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who died in February, is the key role of the Church in ending abortion. He said that he and his colleagues who started the abortion rights movement would never have gotten away with what they did if the clergy had been united, purposeful, and strong. He said that he stole the abortion issue from the Church and caught the Church asleep. That’s why, once he became a pro-life advocate, he gave such great support to the ministry of Priests for Life, which he called the Paul Revere in the pro-life movement. He wanted to make sure that the Church was not asleep again about the bioethical challenges of our day. So let us be awake, informed, and vigilant.

The Abortionist and the Priest

On February 21, 2011, Dr. Bernard Nathanson died. As he said, he “uncaged the abortion monster” in the United States. As he describes in his book Aborting America, he and his colleagues launched the abortion rights movement and organizations, feeding false statistics to the media about the numbers of women dying from illegal abortions.

Dr. Nathanson ran the largest abortion clinic in the Western World and was responsible for some 75,000 abortions. He even aborted his own child.

He eventually became pro-life through the evidence of science, and then through the love of the pro-life movement, came to faith. He was baptized into the Catholic Church by Cardinal John O’Connor in 1996.

Among the many lessons we can draw from his life is how he, as a founder of the abortion movement, viewed the Catholic Church. After becoming pro-life, he would give talks entitled “How the Abortion Issue was Stolen from the Church.” He said the Church was asleep, and he did everything possible to marginalize its teaching authority by driving a wedge between bishops and laity on this issue.

Speaking to clergy, he maintained, “We would have never gotten away with what we did if you had been united, purposeful, and strong.” That is why he had such a high regard for Priests for Life. In an interview with me in 1999, Dr. Nathanson said the following:

“Well, you know Priests for Life is an extraordinarily fine group. I don’t say that in order to make anybody feel better or flatter anyone. It’s an unusual and a very unique group in that most of the priests whom I have encountered across this country and indeed around the world, shy away from the subject of abortion. They somehow want to keep it under the rug and only pull it out when they’re ordered to. In my own experience as a Catholic convert for the last several years, I’ve attended a great many Masses and listened to a great many homilies and I believe in three years I’ve listened to only one homily on the subject of abortion and that was here in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Other than that, priests seem not to want to talk about it and Priests for Life is the Paul Revere of this whole gestalt. That Priests for Life are riding around trying to galvanize the rest of the clergy into getting engaged in what is one of the most appalling revolutions of the 20th Century and I am enormously grateful to them and I admire their work enormously. But unfortunately, I believe that there are not enough, that Priests for Life should have a staff twenty times what it has now.”

In the latter part of his life, Dr. Nathanson became a bioethicist, and often expressed to me his concern that the Church not be caught asleep again on the new bioethical issues. Let’s honor him and make sure we are awake and vigilant!

Today is the National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers

Today, pro-abortion activists observe the National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers. They want to make into heroes the people who get paid for killing babies. Former abortionist Dr. Tony Levatino provided this comment on today’s observance: “Eight years of performing abortions affirming a woman’s ‘right to choose.’ Over 1200 innocent children in five years of private practice shredded in suction machines and dismembered in late-term abortions. Hundreds of dead little faces staring back at me. Dozens of women who chose abortion assuming that they would be able to become pregnant at some later date who found out differently as the years rolled by. A National Day of Appreciation for what I did? No thank you.” Let’s pray today for all abortionists, that they may experience repentance, conversion, and new life.

A Modern-Day St. Paul

The life of ex-abortionist Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who died in February, teaches us about what abortion does to the doctor. He was responsible for some seventy-five thousand abortions. He ran the largest abortion mill in the Western world in New York City. He even aborted his own child. He said that when he finished that procedure, he had no feelings whatsoever of pain, regret or sadness, but only the feeling of technical satisfaction for a job well done.

Those who kill these children dehumanize themselves. Their hearts and consciences become dull. At one point, Dr. Nathanson began to see the contradiction between aborting babies on one floor of the clinic, and saving babies of the same size and age on another floor. Human reason began to shine through, and he eventually became pro-life.

The Legacy of Dr. Bernard Nathanson

On February 21st, Dr. Bernard Nathanson died. He had been one of the architects of the abortion industry in the United States. As he said, “I uncaged the abortion monster.” He and his friends fed to the media information that some ten thousand women a year were dying from illegal abortion. He later admitted the source of that statistic. He said, “We made it up out of thin air.”

Dr. Nathanson became pro-life, and wrote a book called Aborting America, in which he relates the story of what he did.

Later, he became a Catholic, and wrote another book about his moral and spiritual journey, called The Hand of God.

In honor of Dr. Nathanson, let’s read those books and spread their message to those who did not know him.

Fr. Pavone Mourns Passing of Former Abortion Leader Turned Pro-Life Hero, Dr. Bernard Nathanson

Rome – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, said in a statement today that the life of Dr. Bernard Nathanson is one of the most remarkable stories of God’s mercy and power.

“My own life has intersected with his since the mid-80’s, and our last time together was just last week” Fr. Pavone explained. “Years ago, Dr. Nathanson said, ‘I uncaged the abortion monster in the United States,’ and then he told us priests that he and his former colleagues ‘would never have gotten away with what we did if you had been united, purposeful and strong.’ That assertion is at the core of our ministry at Priests for Life.”

Fr. Pavone continued, “I will never forget the workshop at which I introduced him at the 1994 Human Life International Conference in Irvine, CA. He was supposed to talk about chemical abortion, but at the last minute decided instead to speak of his spiritual journey. At the end of the talk, he said that he was standing on the brink of conversion to the Catholic Church. The room exploded. People were leaping into the air. He said that he hoped God could forgive him, and I said, ‘Dr. Nathanson, He already has.’ And I reminded him of that exchange just last week.”

Dr. Nathanson appears in the introductory video of Priests for Life. “He called Priests for Life the ‘Paul Revere’ of the pro-life movement, and said that he was always immensely grateful for our work, because though he caught the Church asleep on the abortion issue in the late 60’s, he believed the Church could be re-activated to build the Culture of Life. In memory of Dr. Nathanson, we will redouble our efforts to do just that,” Fr. Pavone concluded.

Exposing the Truth

On April 18, 2007 the United States Supreme Court upheld the ban on partial-birth abortion. In that decision, Gonzales v Carhart, the court described another abortion procedure that remains legal throughout America. It is called the D and E procedure. Here are the exact words of the Supreme Court:

“The doctor grips a fetal part with the forceps and pulls it back through the cervix
…, continuing to pull even after meeting resistance from the cervix. The friction
causes the fetus to tear apart. For example, a leg might be ripped off the fetus as it is pulled through the cervix and out of the woman. The process of evacuating the fetus piece by piece continues until it has been completely removed.”
End of quote.

What more needs to be said to convince us to act?

Society of Centurions

For some 18 years, under the leadership of Canadian psychiatrist Dr. Philip Ney, the Society of Centurions has existed to provide a mutually encouraging fellowship of those who have used their professional skills to kill children by abortion, but now have ceased to do so.

Like the Centurion who, upon taking part in the death of Jesus, repented and declared, “Surely, this was an innocent man,” so the Centurions of today, having partaken in the deaths of unborn children, have repented and declared, “Surely, these were innocent lives.”

But what happens next?

These individuals need healing, and a helping hand to walk the difficult path of re-humanizing the children they killed by re-humanizing themselves. The Society of Centurions provides this path to healing through powerful seminars that gather and guide such former abortion providers.

Priests for Life is playing a key role in announcing and fostering this healing. We invite those who are in the abortion industry to come out. We invite those who have come out of the abortion industry to contact us and to discuss their options for healing and wholeness.

We also invite those who know anyone who may benefit from the Centurions to likewise contact us.

And let’s pray for all these men and women, that the peace of Christ may be theirs.