Monday night at my 4th Degree Knights of Columbus Assembly meeting, during prayer requests, one of my brother Knights asked that we pray for the happy repose of the soul of Dr. Bernard Nathanson who was laid to rest that day in New York. For the few who may not know, Dr. Nathanson was the co-founder of NARAL and a leading proponent of "Abortion Rights" in the 60s and 70s. After becoming pro-life, he admitted that NARAL had inflated the numbers of "back-alley abortion deaths" to influence public opinion in favor of making abortion legal. This is an argument still used today by Planned Parenthood. In the end, the death toll was astounding. Nathanson was responsible for over 75,000 deaths; and was personally involved in the killing of at least 5,000 children, including one of his own.
He performed his last abortion in 1979, however, deciding it was not right based on of all things...science. The use of ultrasound technology led him to the realization that it was, in fact, a human life he was taking. Amazing, huh? Interestingly, it would be over fifteen years after becoming pro-life before he came to faith. In his much quoted piece, Confession of an Ex-Abortionist, Dr. Nathanson states,
"As a scientist I know, not believe, know that human life begins at conception. Although I am not a formal religionist, I believe with all my heart that there is a divinity of existence which commands us to declare a final and irreversible halt to this infinitely sad and shameful crime against humanity."
Seeking understanding of his life as an abortionist, he began to read the “literature of sin,” he said. After working with a priest in counseling for several years, he was baptized a Catholic in December of 1996.
So what can be learned from the life of Dr. Nathanson?
First, don't ignore the obvious. If God gives you an "ultrasound" pay attention to it. One of the best tools he left us is his film The Silent Scream. I've included it at the bottom of this post (If you get an age appropriate error, open in YouTube and acknowledge that you're 18). Watch it and pay attention to it...
Secondly, nothing is impossible with Grace. Don't believe for a second that the Grace of God was not at work in this man to move him from where he was in his life to where he ended up. Romans 8:28 tells us that, "We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose." The Lord definitely worked for his good pleasure in this man's life, bringing much good out of a terrible evil.
Lastly, with the advent of Lent (sorry for the liturgical play on words) about a week away, take the time for a thorough examination of conscience and remember...Jesus Christ died for your sins, therefore no sin, except refusing to ask for forgiveness, is unforgivable. This man's life is surely a testament to that.
Please pray for the happy repose of the soul of Dr. Bernard Nathanson and for the souls of the over 46 million children aborted since Roe v. Wade.