Dr. Bernard Nathanson: A story of metanoia

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Bernard A. Nathanson (1926-2011), was a professionally well-recognized and successful New York obstetrician and gynecologist. An avowed atheist as a young man through his middle age, Nathanson was a co-founder of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, whose activities are credited with hastening the liberalization of abortion law in New York State. Intent on increasing the accessibility and promoting the acceptance of abortion on demand, Dr. Nathanson taught and published journal articles on the operative techniques and on the results from large numbers of these procures. During his tenure as director of the largest abortion clinic in the Western World, Nathanson presided over 60,000 abortions, and he performed more than 1,500 in his own practice. His studies of embryology and evidence from emerging technologies to monitor and examine intrauterine fetal development led Nathanson to question the morality of voluntarily interrupting pregnancy, thence to rejecting abortion procedures from his own clinical practice altogether, and eventually to become involved in anti-abortion, pro-life activities. An influential writer, speaker and film maker, these experiences and witnessing the love and prayer of other pro-life supporters turned Nathanson to notions of God, and finally reading and personal prayer guided him from secular atheism to Christianity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-13
Number of pages11
JournalIssues in Law and Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health Policy


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