Anti-abortion activist Bernard Nathanson dies aged 84

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Bernard Nathanson in an undated picture
Image: Jorosmtz.
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

Obstetrician Bernard Nathanson, who provided abortions and then became an anti-abortion activist, is dead at the age of 84. Nathanson died in New York; the cause of death was announced as cancer. During his time as an obstetrician he estimated that he was involved in nearly 75,000 abortions, about 5,000 of which he performed himself. He performed his last abortion in 1979; shortly thereafter he became an anti-abortion activist.

Nathanson opened an abortion clinic in New York City in the 1960s but had performed abortions beforehand. In the 1940s he completed an abortion on his then girlfriend who was pregnant with his child. In 1969, he became one of the founders of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, an organization that still exists today.

After performing his last abortion and becoming an anti-abortion advocate, Nathanson narrated The Silent Scream, a film that showed a three month-old fetus being aborted. As well as films he also wrote books about abortion including his 1996 autobiography The Hand of God.

His wife, Christine Reisner-Nathanson spoke about his change of views. She said, "When he was an abortion doctor he was seen as a pariah by the medical community and when he went pro-life he was scorned by the women in the pro-abortion movement."