America’s most aggressive pro-abortion organization – NARAL – is changing its name again, reports the New York Times.
Let’s see, that would make it the group’s fourth name since it was founded in 1969, initially as the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws. After the Supreme Court’s momentous 1973 Roe vs. Wade abortion decision – 30 years ago this month – the group reinvented itself as the National Abortion Rights Action League. In 1993, it became the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, trying to de-emphasize abortion in favor of “rights.” And now, as it launches a high-profile, multimillion-dollar PR campaign, the group is morphing to “Naral Pro Choice America.”
Uh, what happened to the part about “abortion”?
“They want to isolate the rhetoric from the reality,” charges Family Research Council President Ken Connor. “They want to talk about pro-choice, but its not choosing between chocolate and vanilla. We are talking about the right to choose to kill an unborn child.”
Yet long-time NARAL President Kate Michelman puts it differently. “It is the right name for this moment in history,” she explains. Terrified that Roe vs. Wade will be overturned with Republicans in both houses of Congress as well as the White House, NARAL is pulling out all the stops to make abortion a major issue in the 2004 election. “Through our name change,” says Michelman, “we are underscoring that our country is pro-choice.”
But wait. The most recent Gallup poll finds that only 26 percent of Americans support NARAL’s radical idea of “choice” – that abortion should be legal in all cases. Just over half, about 56 percent, believe it should be legal in certain cases, such as rape or to save the life of the mother, and another 17 percent say it should be illegal in all cases – meaning that 3 out of 4 Americans favor severe restrictions on abortion.
If NARAL is trying to sell an extremist viewpoint through aggressive marketing and clever slogans, that would be, like changing its name, nothing new. In fact, it’s what NARAL is all about.
In all marketing wars, the party that frames the terms of the debate wins. And in the early years of the fight to legalize abortion in America, the abortion marketers at NARAL brilliantly succeeded in diverting attention away from the core issues of exactly what abortion does to both the unborn child and to the mother, and focusing the debate instead on a newly created issue: “choice.” No longer was the morality of killing the unborn at issue, but rather, “who decides.”
NARAL’s original abortion-rights slogans from the early ’70s – they remain virtual articles of faith for today’s “pro-choice” movement – were “Freedom of choice” and “Women must have control over their own bodies.”
“I remember laughing when we made those slogans up,” recalls NARAL’S co-founder, Bernard Nathanson, M.D., reminiscing about the early days of the abortion-rights 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 as well as its medical committee, Nathanson was one of the principal architects and strategists of the abortion movement in the United States. In an extensive interview with this writer some years back, Nathanson told an astonishing story.
“In 1968, I met Lawrence Lader,” said 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 a.m. 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.”
‘A window into the womb’
After two years, Nathanson resigned from C.R.A.S.H. and became chief of the obstetrical service at St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City, a major teaching center for Columbia University Medical School. At that time, in 1973, a number of new technologies and apparatuses had just become available, all designed to afford physicians a “window into the womb.”
Nathanson recalls the dazzling array of cutting-edge technologies back then:
“Real-time ultrasound: an instrument which beams high frequency sound into the mother’s abdomen. The echoes that come back are collected by a computer and assembled into a moving picture;
“Electronic fetal heart monitoring: we clamp an apparatus on the mother’s abdomen, and then continuously record the fetal heart rate, instant by instant;
“Fetoscopy: an optical instrument put directly into the womb. We could watch that baby, actually eyeball it.
“Cordocentesis: taking a needle, sticking it into the pregnant mother’s uterus and, under ultrasound, locating the umbilical arteries and actually putting a needle into the cord, taking the baby’s blood, diagnosing its illnesses, and treating it by giving it medicine. Today, surgery is actually performed on the unborn!
“Anyway,” says Nathanson, “as a result of all of this technology – looking at this baby, examining it, investigating it, watching its metabolic functions, watching it urinate, swallow, move and sleep, watching it dream, which you could see by its rapid-eye movements via ultrasound, treating it, operating on it – I finally came to the conviction that this was my patient. This was a person! I was a physician, pledged to save my patients’ lives, not to destroy them. So I changed my mind on the subject of abortion.”
“There was nothing religious about it,” he hastens to add. “This was purely a change of mind as a result of this fantastic technology, and the new insights and perceptions I had into the nature of the unborn child.”
Nathanson expressed some doubts about abortion then, in an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine. “I was immediately summoned to a kangaroo court and was discharged from the pro-abortion movement, something I do not lose sleep over.”
Nathanson subsequently published a book called “Aborting America,” followed by another called “The Abortion Papers.”
In 1985, intrigued by the question of what really happens during an abortion in the first three months of a pregnancy, Nathanson decided to put an ultrasound machine on the abdomen of a woman undergoing an abortion and to videotape what happens.
“We got a film that was astonishing, shocking, frightening,” he says.
“It was made into a film called ‘The Silent Scream.’ It was shattering, and the pro-abortion people panicked. Because at this point, we had moved the abortion debate away from moralizing, sermonizing, sloganeering and pamphleteering into a high-tech argument. For the first time, the pro-life movement now had all of the technology and all of the smarts, and the pro-abortion people were on the defensive.”
Nathanson’s film provoked a massive campaign of defamation on the part of the pro-abortion movement, including charges that he had doctored the film. He hadn’t. “I was accused of everything from pederasty to nepotism. But the American public saw the film.”
In 1987, Nathanson released another, even stronger, film called “Eclipse of Reason,” introduced by Charlton Heston. “‘The Silent Scream’ dealt with a child who was aborted at 12 weeks,” said Nathanson. “But there are 400 abortions every day in this country that are done after the third month of pregnancy. Contrary to popular misconception, Roe vs. Wade makes abortion permissible up to and including the ninth month of pregnancy. I wanted to dramatize what happens in one of these late abortions, after the third month.
“They took a fetuscope, which is a long optical instrument with a lens at one end and a strong light at the other. They inserted the fetuscope into the womb of a woman at 19-1/2 weeks, and a camera was clamped on the eyepiece and then the abortionist went to work.
“This procedure was known as a D&E (dilation and evacuation). It involves dilating the cervix, rupturing the bag of waters, taking a large crushing instrument and introducing it way high up into the uterus, grabbing a piece of the baby, pulling it off the baby, and just repeating this procedure until the baby has been pulled apart piece by piece.
“Then the pieces are assembled on a table, put together like a jigsaw puzzle, so the abortionist can be sure that the entire baby has been removed. We photographed all this through the fetuscope. This is a shattering film.”
Thus did Bernard Nathanson, co-founder of NARAL and once a top strategist of the pro-abortion movement, come to be staunchly committed to the cause of ending legalized abortion in America.
In the strangest of ironies, Nathanson, perhaps the closest thing to being “the man who started it all” for the “pro-choice movement” – the Edward Teller of abortion – now spends his days trying to put the abortion genie back in the bottle. Like Norma McCorvey – who as the barefoot-and-pregnant “Jane Roe” was the pro-abortion plaintiff in the Supreme Court’s momentous and fateful Roe vs. Wade decision – Nathanson, also, is today dedicated to putting an end to what both now see as a national tragedy on a par with the Nazi Holocaust.
“Let me share with you my own personal perception of the abortion tragedy,” Nathanson told one California audience. “I’m going to set it against my Jewish heritage and the Holocaust in Europe. The abortion holocaust is beyond the ordinary discourse of morality and rational condemnation. It is not enough to pronounce it absolutely evil. Absolute evil used to characterize this abortion tragedy … is an inept formulation. The abortion tragedy is a new event, severed from connections with traditional presuppositions of history, psychology, politics and morality.
“It extends beyond the deliberations of reason, beyond the discernments of moral judgment, beyond meaning itself. It trivializes itself to call itself merely a holocaust or a tragedy. It is, in the words of Arthur Cohen, perhaps the world’s leading scholar on the European Holocaust, a mysterium tremendum, an utter mystery to the rational mind – a mystery that carries with it not only the aspect of vastness, but the resonance of terror, something so unutterably diabolic as to be literally unknowable to us.
“This is an evil torn free of its moorings in reason and causality, an ordinary secular corruption raised to unimaginable powers of magnification and limitless extremity. Nelly Sachs, a poetess who wrote poems on the Holocaust in Europe and who won the Nobel Prize in 1966, wrote a poem called ‘Chorus of the Unborn.’ Permit me to give you a few lines. She said:
We, the unborn, the yearning has begun to plague us
as shores of blood broaden to receive us.
Like dew, we sink into love but still
the shadows of time lie like questions over our secret.”
Bernard Nathanson – co-founder of NARAL, abortionist, architect of the pro-abortion movement, and later, the courageous pilgrim who took a painful journey of discovery and truth – speaks the truth exquisitely, hauntingly: Abortion in America is beyond rational comprehension.
Forty-three million babies aborted since the Supreme Court ruling 30 years ago. Beautiful, viable, fully formed human children literally torn apart while being delivered, their pieces sold for profit. Twenty-five million women having abortions, many suffering from profound physical and psychological traumas. An undeniable cause-and-effect link between abortion and breast cancer, which one in eight American women will contract. And more. So much more. Who can comprehend it?
When the Nazi Holocaust finally came to an end, Allied soldiers led the horrified German population – the everyday, law-abiding, government-believing people of the day – through the concentration camps. Newsreels of this guided tour show women crying convulsively, stunned men with heads bowed low in shock and dismay.
Filing past piles of emaciated corpses, the stench of death everywhere, an unspeakable horror permeated their souls. All at once, they realized that the nagging doubt in the back of their minds – the secret fear that the rumors of genocide might actually be true, but which they had disbelieved, thinking such negative thoughts to be from the demon of disloyalty, weakness or lack of patriotism – had actually been the desperate cry of inner truth. The soft, velvety denial they had lived in vanished instantly, and in its place, the agony of guilt and betrayal.
At least these people faced their sins of omission and tacit complicity, having believed their leaders and ignored the urgings of their own conscience. They were forced to acknowledge the horror they had previously denied.
What about us? Will we one day tour through the wreckage of our own culture of death and weep? Will we repent and seek God’s forgiveness? Not if the likes of NARAL and Planned Parenthood have anything to say about it. You will be hearing a lot more from them in the days and months to come, about “freedom” and “choice” and “women’s rights.” They don’t want America to wake up and confront its own holocaust.
Besides, to do that, we would, like Dr. Nathanson, have to suffer the exquisite but redeeming pain of realizing the awful truth about the murderous and loathsome dream world in which we’ve been living these last 30 years. That’s a long nightmare. But most of us are still far too comfortable being asleep.
Author’s note: To mark this month’s 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s most controversial decision in history – Roe vs. Wade (Jan. 22, 1973) – WND has dedicated the entire January 2003 edition of our monthly Whistleblower magazine to the subject of abortion in America. (Because one page contains graphic photographs of abortions, it may not be suitable for children.) This is undoubtedly the most powerful and insightful issue of Whistleblower we have ever produced. Please read it and share it with others.