What’s It Like to Abort Your Own Child?

Bethany Jenkins | August 6, 2015


Bernard Nathanson’s first involvement with abortion was as a medical student at McGill University in Montreal. In 1945, having gotten his girlfriend pregnant, he scheduled and financed her illegal abortion.

In the 1960s, Nathanson, by then a medical doctor practicing obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN), became a leader in the movement to overturn laws against abortion. He and Lawrence Lader, who once proclaimed, “Abortion is central to everything in life and how we want to live it,” co-founded the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL). Their goal was to make abortion both culturally and legally acceptable.

To achieve that goal, Nathanson would later admit, they “pursued dubious and in some cases straightforwardly dishonest strategies,” noted Robert George. They promoted the idea that abortion was about medicine, not morality; lied about the number of illegal abortions performed annually and about the number of women who died from them; suggested that opposing abortion was a “religious dogma” imposed by a Catholic hierarchy; and argued that abortion was an effective means to fight poverty.

The Pride of Expertise

In 1970, when New York legalized abortion, Nathanson became the director of the largest freestanding abortion clinic in the world where he oversaw…


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