Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bernard Nathanson: On his conversion to the pro-life cause

Julie Culshaw quotes Bernard Nathanson in an interview published in the The Interim:

I started changing my mind in 1973, when advanced technology moved into our hospitals and offices. I speak now of ultrasound imaging, fetal heart monitoring electronically, hysteroscopy, fetoscopy - things that gave us a window into the womb. Over a period of three or four years, I mulled over these technologies and what they revealed ... They opened a window into the womb so we could look in it, see the unborn baby and measure it and observe it sleeping, swallowing, urinating and all the things we all do as members of the (human) community. I was finally persuaded that the fetus is a member of the human community, has to be regarded as such and has to be protected as such.


In order to give you some idea of the immense influence of this new techonology on the practice of obstetrics and our knowledge of the fetus, let me tell you that there is a huge book called The Cumulative Index Medicus,which lists every article published in every medical journal in the world. In the l969 edition of the Index under the heading of "fetus, physiology and anatomy of," there were five articles in the world's literature. As recently as that, we knew almost nothing of the fetus; when abortion on demand was unleashed in the United States, fetology essentially did not exist. In l979, there were twenty-eight hundred articles, and by l994 there were close to five thousand. This technology had opened a new world to us.