Bernard Nathanson
co-founder and first president
National Abortion Right Action League

National Abortion Rights Action League Founder Reminisces


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"Women must have control over their own bodies."

"Safe and legal abortion is every woman's right."

"Who decides? You decide!"

"Freedom of choice -- a basic American right."

The "pro-choice movement's" emotionally compelling slogans -- fierce rallying cries of the most successful political marketing campaign in modern history, which made abortion-on-demand legal in the U.S. -- have been powerful rhetorical weapons for fighting off efforts to reverse Roe v. Wade, coming up on its 30th anniversary next month.

"I remember laughing when we made those slogans up," recalls Bernard Nathanson, M.D., co-founder of pro-abortion group NARAL, reminiscing about the early days of the pro-abortion movement in the late '60s and early '70s.

"We were looking for some sexy, catchy slogans to capture public opinion. They were very cynical slogans then, just as all of these slogans today are very, very cynical."

Besides having served as chairman of the executive committee of NARAL -- originally, the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, and later renamed the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League -- as well as its medical committee, Nathanson was one of the principal architects and strategists of the abortion movement in the United States. He tells an astonishing story.

"In 1968 I met Lawrence Lader," says Nathanson. "Lader had just finished a book called Abortion, and in it had made the audacious demand that abortion should be legalized throughout the country. I had just finished a residency in obstetrics and gynecology and was impressed with the number of women who were coming into our clinics, wards and hospitals suffering from illegal, infected, botched abortions."

"Lader and I were perfect for each other. We sat down and plotted out the organization now known as NARAL. With Betty Friedan, we set up this organization and began working on the strategy."

"We persuaded the media that the cause of permissive abortion was a liberal, enlightened, sophisticated one," recalls the movement's co-founder. "Knowing that if a true poll were taken, we would be soundly defeated, we simply fabricated the results of fictional polls. We announced to the media that we had taken polls and that 60 percent of Americans were in favor of permissive abortion. This is the tactic of the self-fulfilling lie. Few people care to be in the minority. We aroused enough sympathy to sell our program of permissive abortion by fabricating the number of illegal abortions done annually in the U.S. The actual figure was approaching 100,000, but the figure we gave to the media repeatedly was 1,000,000."

"Repeating the big lie often enough convinces the public. The number of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200-250 annually. The figure we constantly fed to the media was 10,000. These false figures took root in the consciousness of Americans, convincing many that we needed to crack the abortion law.

"Another myth we fed to the public through the media was that legalizing abortion would only mean that the abortions taking place illegally would then be done legally. In fact, of course, abortion is now being used as a primary method of birth control in the U.S. and the annual number of abortions has increased by 1,500 percent since legalization."

What was the result of NARAL's brilliantly deceitful marketing campaign, bolstered by thoroughly fraudulent research? In New York, the law outlawing abortion had been on the books for 140 years. "In two years of work, we at NARAL struck that law down," says Nathanson. "We lobbied the legislature, we captured the media, we spent money on public relations. Our first year's budget was $7,500. Of that, $5,000 was allotted to a public relations firm to persuade the media of the correctness of our position. That was in 1969."

New York immediately became the abortion capital for the eastern half of the United States.

"We were inundated with applicants for abortion," says Nathanson. "To that end, I set up a clinic, the Center for Reproductive and Sexual Health (C.R.A.S.H.), which operated in the east side of Manhattan. It had 10 operating rooms, 35 doctors, 85 nurses. It operated seven days a week, from 8 am to midnight. We did 120 abortions every day in that clinic. At the end of the two years that I was the director, we had done 60,000 abortions. I myself, with my own hands, have done 5,000 abortions. I have supervised another 10,000 that residents have done under my direction. So I have 75,000 abortions in my life. Those are pretty good credentials to speak on the subject of abortion."

But something happened to Nathanson -- something profound. Just as it happened to countless other abortion practitioners, abortion facility owners and staffers. Just as it happened to Norma McCorvey -- the real name for "Jane Roe," the plaintiff in the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion decision.

These pioneers of the pro-abortion movement have all arrived at the same conclusion -- that abortion is the unjust killing of a human baby -- and have come over to the other side of the raging abortion debate.


Source: Pro-Life Infonet, #2598, 24 Dec 2002, citing Worldnet Daily, 20 Dec 2002.

Infonet is sponsored by Women and Children First, www.womenandchildrenfirst.org.


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Posted 24 Dec 2002.

Copyright 2002 by Pro-Life Infonet
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