“Women must have control over their own bodies.”
“Safe and legal abortion is every woman’s right.”
“Who decides? You decide!”
“Abortion is a personal decision between a woman and her doctor.”
“Who will make this most personal decision of a woman’s life? Will women decide, or will the politicians and bureaucrats in Washington?”
“Freedom of choice – a basic American right.”
In one of the most successful marketing campaigns in modern political history, the “abortion rights movement” – with all of its emotionally compelling catch-phrases and powerful political slogans – has succeeded in turning what once was a heinous crime into a fiercely defended constitutional right.
During the tumultuous 1960s, after centuries of legal prohibition and moral condemnation of abortion, a handful of dedicated activists launched an unprecedented marketing campaign. Their aim was twofold: first, to capture the news media and thus public opinion, and then, to change the nation’s abortion laws.
Their success was rapid and total – resulting in abortion being legalized in all 50 states, for virtually any reason, and throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Since the Supreme Court’s controversial Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, American doctors have performed well over 40 million abortions.
Although polls consistently show a clear majority of Americans disapprove of unfettered abortion-on-demand, the movement’s well-crafted, almost magical slogans – appealing to Americans’ deeply rooted inclination toward tolerance, privacy and individual rights – have provided the abortion camp a powerful rhetorical arsenal with which to fight off efforts to reverse Roe, which struck down all state laws outlawing abortion.
In marketing wars, the party that frames the terms of the debate almost always wins. And the early abortion marketers brilliantly succeeded in doing exactly that – diverting attention away from the core issues of exactly what abortion does to both the unborn child and 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.”
The original abortion-rights slogans from the early ’70s – they remain virtual articles of faith and rallying cries of the “pro-choice” movement to this day – were “Freedom of choice” and “Women must have control over their own bodies.”
“I remember laughing when we made those slogans up,” recalls Bernard Nathanson, M.D., co-founder of pro-abortion vanguard group NARAL, 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 – 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.
Changing the law on abortion
“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 million.
“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.”
NARAL’s brilliantly deceitful marketing campaign, bolstered by fraudulent “research,” was uncannily successful. 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 raft 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.”
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 v. 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, once a founder and top strategist of the pro-abortion movement, come to be staunchly committed to the cause of ending legalized abortion in America.
Nathanson is by no means the only abortionist to switch sides in the abortion war. Indeed, in recent years hundreds of abortion providers have left their profession. On its website, NARAL bemoans “the dwindling number of doctors willing or trained to perform abortions.”
If we really want to understand how abortion has been so successfully marketed, there’s no better source than those who have worked in the abortion industry. They, like no one else, really know first-hand what it’s like to sell and perform abortions for a living.
Take a deep breath, and prepare to be deeply affected by what you read next.
Carol Everett of Dallas, Texas, got involved in the abortion industry in 1973, the year of Roe v. Wade, after having an abortion herself. She set up referral clinics in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, then worked in two clinics in which 800 abortions were performed monthly, and eventually ran five abortion clinics. She describes how women coming to her clinics were counseled:
Those kids, when they find out that they are pregnant, may not want an abortion; they may want information. But when they call that number, which is paid for by abortion money, what kind of information do you think they’re going to get? Remember, they sell abortions – they don’t sell keeping the baby, or giving the baby up for adoption, or delivering that baby. They only sell abortions.
The counselor asks, “How far along are you? What’s the first day of your last normal period?”
They’ve got their wheel there and they figure it out. The counselor is paid to be this girl’s friend and authority figure. She is supposed to seduce her into a friendship of sorts – to sell her the abortion.
Surprisingly, professional public relations firms are commonly brought in to train clinic personnel to sell women on the abortion option.
Nita Whitten worked as chief secretary at another Dallas abortion clinic, that of Dr. Curtis Boyd. Whitten concurs with Everett about the often-obsessive profit motive of abortion clinics:
I was trained by a professional marketing director in how to sell abortions over the telephone,” she said. “He took every one of our receptionists, nurses, and anyone else who would deal with people over the phone through an extensive training period. The object was, when the girl called, to hook the sale so she wouldn’t get an abortion somewhere else, or adopt out her baby, or change her mind.
With disarming candor, Whitten adds: “We were doing it for the money.”
Kathy Sparks, who worked in a Granite City, Ill., abortion clinic, describes the manipulative counseling practices used at her clinic:
One particular worker was very good. She could sit down with these girls during counseling and cry with them at the drop of a pin. She would immediately draw them out, asking them all kinds of good questions, to find out what their pressure point was – what was driving them to want the abortion.
Whatever that pressure point was, she would magnify it. If the girl was afraid her parents would kill her, and didn’t know how to tell them, the counselor would proceed by saying, “Well, that’s why abortion is here, we want to help you; this is the answer to your problems.”
If it was money, she would tell the girl how much baby items cost: “You know it costs $3,000 to have a baby now,” or “You know, baby shoes are $28. Sleepers are $15. But you know, that’s what’s so wonderful about abortion. We can take care of this problem and you don’t have to worry about it until you are financially prepared to have a child.”
The salesmanship at her abortion clinic was so effective, says Sparks, that 99 out of every 100 women would go ahead and have an abortion.
Abortion clinics, and particularly Planned Parenthood, the world’s largest abortion provider, insist publicly that they offer all alternatives – keeping the baby, adoption, abortion – without coercion or preference.
“The women were never given any type of alternatives to abortions,” says Debra Henry, who worked as an assistant and counselor for six months at an OB/GYN office in Levonia, Mich. “They were never told about adoption agencies, that there were people out there willing to help them, to give them homes to live in, to provide them with care, and even financial support.”
Everett relates what happens after the initial counseling of her clinic’s clients: After the basic questions, the girls were told briefly about what was to happen to them after the procedure. All they were told about the procedure itself was that they would experience slight cramping, similar to menstrual cramps. They were not told about the development of the baby, or about the pain that the baby would be experiencing, or about the physical or emotional effects the abortion would have on them.
The two questions they always ask are: No. 1, “Does it hurt?” And the answer would always be, “Oh, no. Your uterus is a muscle. It’s a cramp to open it, a cramp to close it – just a slight cramping sensation.” And the girl thinks, “That’s no problem. I can stand that. I’ve been through it before.” Then the client asks question No. 2: “Is it a baby?”
“No,” would come the answer, “it’s a product of conception,” or “it’s a blood clot,” or “it’s a piece of tissue.” They don’t even call it a fetus, because that almost humanizes it too much, but it’s never a baby.”
There are two standard reactions in the recovery room, says Everett:
The first is: “I’ve killed my baby.” It amazed me that this was the first time the patients called it a baby, and the first time they called it murder. But the second reaction is: “I am hungry. You kept me in here for four hours and you told me I’d only be here for two. Let me out of here.” That woman is doing what I did when I had my abortion. She’s running from her abortion, not dealing with it.
Why doctors do abortions
Many doctors who perform abortions cite the same contributory factors to their getting started – the media, women’s-rights groups and their medical training itself. In addition, doing abortions makes for a very lucrative practice.
Joseph Randall, M.D., of Atlanta, Ga., frankly admits that he was attracted to the large income potential that abortions offered. Over the 10 years that he did abortions, Randall estimates that he performed 32,000 of them.
“The media were very active early on,” recalls Randall. “They were probably one of the major influences on us, telling us that abortion was not only legal, but that it was to serve women. It was to give women a choice, more or less give them a freedom to grow and to take their rightful place in society where they had been kind of pushed down prior to that. We also believed the lie that there were tens of thousands of women being maimed and killed from illegal abortions prior to legalization of abortion law.”
In 1972, the year prior to Roe v. Wade, 28 deaths were reported from illegal abortions in the U.S.
“As part of our medical training,” added Randall, “abortions became a necessary procedure, according to the chief of my department. This was in 1971, before the law had changed in the country, but it had changed in New York a few years before. We needed to serve women, we needed to know all the procedures that we had to do for women, and we had to know how to do them well. Otherwise, we weren’t considered effectively trained. Our chief said that if we didn’t do the abortions, we might as well get out of obstetrics and gynecology because we just wouldn’t be complete physicians.”
“Why do doctors do abortions?” asks Anthony Levantino, M.D., an OBGYN who provided abortions for his patients in his Albany, N.Y., office for eight years. “Why did I do abortions? If you are pro-choice, or, as a lot of people like to say, ‘morally neutral’ on the subject, and you happen to be a gynecologist, then it’s up to you to take the instruments in hand and actively perform abortions. It’s part of your training. I’ve heard it many times from other obstetricians: Well, I’m not really pro-abortion, I’m pro-woman.’
“The women’s groups in this country have done a very good job of selling that bill of goods to the population, that somehow destroying a life is being pro-women. I can tell you a lot of obstetricians believe it. I used to.
“Along the way,” says Levantino, “you find out that you can make a lot of money doing abortions. I worked 9 to 5. I was never bothered at night. I never had to go out on weekends. And I made more money than my obstetrician brethren. And I didn’t have to face the liability. That’s a big factor, a huge perk. I almost never, ever had to worry about her lawyer bothering me.
“In my practice, we were averaging between $250 and $500 per abortion – and it was cash. It’s the one time as a doctor you can say, ‘Either pay me up front or I’m not going to take care of you.’ Abortion is totally elective. Either you have the money or you don’t. And they get it.”
Cash payment is common in the abortion industry, says Everett.
“I’ve seen doctors walk out after three hours’ work and split $4,500 dollars between them on a Saturday morning – more if you go longer into the day,” she said. “Of the four clinics I’ve worked in, none of them ever showed that they collected the doctors’ money; they collect it separately, and do not show it on any of the records in those clinics. That way, the doctors are independent contractors and the clinic doesn’t have to be concerned with their malpractice insurance, and doesn’t have to report their income to the IRS.”
“Every single transaction that we did,” adds Whitten, “was cash money. We wouldn’t take a check, or even a credit card. If you didn’t have the money, forget it. It wasn’t unusual at all for me to take $10,000 to $15,000 a day to the bank – in cash.”
Beverly McMillan, M.D., founded the first abortion clinic in Mississippi and did a large volume of business. She makes the provocative observation that not only do many abortion clinics require payment in cash, but also do not report that income to the government.
“A lot of these folks do not declare all their income,” she says flatly. “When you’re dealing in cash, unless you’re honest you can just not have a record for that patient, not make an entry on your ledger. I know some people who were paid under the counter. They would get half of their salary in cash, and they never had to pay taxes on that. Why the IRS doesn’t go after these guys, I don’t understand.”
The heart of the matter
Ultrasound, the great awakener of Bernard Nathanson, is routinely employed today to check on the progress of developing babies. In an ironic and shadowy parallel, ultrasound is also used to aid in abortions.
The nurses have to look at the ultrasound picture to gauge how far along the baby is for an abortion, because the larger the pregnancy, the more you get paid. It was very important for us to do that. But the turnover definitely got greater when we started using ultrasound. We lost two nurses – they couldn’t take looking at it. Some of the other staff left also.
What about the women having the abortions? Do they see the ultrasound?
“They are never allowed to look at the ultrasound because we knew that if they so much as heard the heartbeat, they wouldn’t want to have the abortion,” said Randall.
A peculiar problem in the abortion clinic is fetal disposal.
“We basically put them down the garbage disposal if they were small enough,” says Whitten. “We hardly ever sent anything to the laboratory for pathology unless there was something weird going on and the doctor wanted to make sure he wouldn’t get sued.”
Kathy Sparks recalls: “Oftentimes, second trimester abortions were performed and these babies we would not put in the little jar with the label to send off to the pathology lab. We would put them down a flush toilet – that’s where we would put these babies.”
‘There are no words to describe it’
Every year in the United States, over a million abortions are performed – including tens of thousands of late-term abortions (after the 12th week). Many of these late abortions are carried out by means of amniotic infusion (the injection of a foreign substance into the amniotic sac) of saline, prostaglandin, urea, or another agent designed to kill the unborn baby.
“Saline abortions have to be done in the hospital because of complications that can arise,” says OB/GYN staffer Debra Henry. “Not that they can’t arise during other times, but more so now. The saline, a salt solution, is injected into the woman’s sac and the baby swallows it. The baby starts dying a slow, violent death. The mother feels everything, and many times it is at this point when she realizes that she really has a live baby inside of her, because the baby starts fighting violently for his or her life. He’s just fighting inside because he’s burning.
“One night a lady delivered and I was called to come and see her because she was uncontrollable,” says David Brewer, M.D., of Glen Ellyn, Ill. As a military physician in Ft. Rucher, Ala., Brewer performed abortions for 10 years. “I went in the room, and she was going to pieces; she was having a nervous breakdown, screaming and thrashing. The nurses were upset because they couldn’t get any work done, and all the other patients were upset because this lady was screaming. I walked in, and here was her little saline abortion baby kicking. It had been born alive, and was kicking and moving for a little while before it finally died of those terrible burns, because the salt solution gets into the lungs and burns the lungs, too.”
“I’ll tell you one thing about D&E,” says Levantino. “You never have to worry about a baby’s being born alive. I won’t describe D&E other than to say that, as a doctor, you are sitting there tearing, and I mean tearing – you need a lot of strength to do it – arms and legs off of babies and putting them in a stack on top of a table.”
Commenting on late-term D&E abortions, Everett recalls:
My job was to tell the doctor where the parts were, the head being of special significance because it is the most difficult to remove. The head must be deflated, usually by using the suction machine to remove the brain, then crushing the head with large forceps.
The question of how doctors could tear apart a virtually full-grown baby is painful, perplexing, mystifying.
“Psychologically,” says Everett, “the doctors always sized the baby at ’24 weeks.’ However, we did an abortion on one baby I feel was almost full-term. The baby’s muscle structure was so strong that it would not come apart. The baby died when the doctor pulled the head off the body.”
Kathy Sparks describes a second-trimester abortion:
The baby’s bones were far too developed to rip them up with this curette, and so he would have to try to pull the baby out with forceps, in about three or four major pieces. Then he scraped and suctioned and scraped and suctioned, and then this little baby boy was lying on the tray. His little face was perfectly formed, little eyes closed and little ears – everything was perfect about this little boy.
“There are no words to describe how bad it really is,” says Everett. “I’ve seen sonograms of the baby pulling away from the instruments as they are introduced into the vagina. And I’ve seen D&E’s through 32 weeks done without the mother’s being put to sleep. And yes, they hurt and they are very painful to the baby, and yes, they are very, very painful to the woman. I’ve seen six people hold a woman on the table while they did her abortion.”
‘My heart got calloused’
Physicians are manipulated into going against their own consciences and performing abortions, says Brewer, all in the name of helping women. He describes witnessing a suction abortion for the first time, during his medical training:
I can remember … the resident doctor sitting down, putting the tube in, and removing the contents. I saw the bloody material coming down the plastic tube, and it went into a big jar. My job afterwards was to go and undo the jar, and to see what was inside.
I didn’t have any views on abortion; I was in a training program, and this was a brand new experience. I was going to get to see a new procedure and learn. I opened the jar and took the little piece of stockingette stocking and opened that little bag. The resident doctor said, “Now put it on that blue towel and check it out. We want to make sure that we got it all.” I thought, “That’ll be exciting – hands-on experience looking at tissue.” I opened the sock up and put it on the towel, and there were parts of a person in there.
I had taken anatomy, I was a medical student. I knew what I was looking at. There was a little scapula and an arm, I saw some ribs and a chest, and a little tiny head. I saw a piece of a leg, and a tiny hand and an arm and, you know, it was like somebody put a hot poker into me. I had a conscience, and it hurt. Well, I checked it out and there were two arms and two legs and one head and so forth, and I turned and said, “I guess you got it all.” That was a very hard experience for me to go through emotionally.
Here I was with no real convictions, caught in the middle. And so I did what a lot of us do throughout our life. We don’t do anything. I didn’t talk with anybody about it, I didn’t talk with my folks about it, I didn’t think about it. I did nothing. And do you know what happened? I got to see another abortion. That one hurt too. But again I didn’t do anything, and so I kept seeing abortions. Do you know what? It hurt a little bit less every time I saw one.
Then I got to sit down and do an abortion. Well, the first one that I did was kind of hard. It hurt me again like a hot poker. But after a while, it got to where it didn’t hurt. My heart got calloused. I was like a lot of people are today – afraid to stand up. I was afraid to speak up. Or some of us, maybe we aren’t afraid, but we just don’t have our own convictions settled yet.
One particular abortion changed Brewer’s life. “I remember an experience as a resident on a hysterotomy (a late-term abortion delivered by caesarean section). I remember seeing the baby move underneath the sack of membranes as the caesarean incision was made, before the doctor broke the water.”
The thought came to me, ‘My God, that’s a person.’ Then he broke the water. And when he broke the water, it was like I had a pain in my heart, just like when I saw the first suction abortion. And then he delivered the baby, and I couldn’t touch it. I wasn’t much of an assistant. I just stood there, and the reality of what was going on finally began to seep into my calloused brain and heart.
They took that little baby that was making little sounds and moving and kicking, and set it on the table in a cold, stainless steel bowl. And every time I would look over while we were repairing the incision in the uterus and finishing the Caesarean, I would see that little person kicking and moving in that bowl.
And it kicked and moved less and less, of course, as time went on. I can remember going over and looking at that baby when we were done with the surgery and the baby was still alive. You could see the chest was moving and the heart beating, and the baby would try to take a little breath like that, and it really hurt inside, and it began to educate me as to what abortion really was.
Levantino, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Troy, N.Y., relates the revealing and very personal story of what happened that caused him to stop performing abortions:
There was this tremendous conflict going on within me. Here I am, doing my D&Cs (an early-term suction abortion), five and six a week, and I’m doing salines on a nightly basis whenever I was on call. The resident on call got the job of doing the salines, and there would usually be two or three of those. They were horrible, because you would see one intact, whole baby being born, and sometimes they were alive. And that was very, very, very frightening. It was a very stomach-turning kind of existence.
My wife and I were looking desperately for a baby to adopt, even while I was throwing them in the garbage at the rate of nine and 10 a week. The thought occurred to me even then, “I wish one of these people would just let me have their child.” But it doesn’t work that way.
We were lucky – it just took four months before we adopted a healthy little girl, and we called her Heather.
We can talk about why doctors do abortions, and I think that the reasons tend to be more or less universal. But why doctors change their minds, I think, is very personal, very different from one doctor to the next. My reasons for quitting were very personal.
Life was good until June 23, 1984. On that date I was on call, but I was at home at the time. We had some friends over and our children were playing in the back yard. At 7:25 that evening, we heard the screech of brakes out in front of the house. We ran outside, and Heather was lying in the road. We did everything we could, but she died.
Let me tell you something. When you lose a child – your child – life is very different. Everything changes. And all of a sudden the idea of a person’s life becomes very real. It’s not an embryology course anymore; it’s not just a couple of hundred dollars. It’s the real thing. It’s your child you buried.
The old discomforts came back in spades. I couldn’t even think about a D&E abortion any more, no way. Then you start to realize, this is somebody’s child. I lost my child – someone who was very precious to us. And now I’m taking somebody’s child, and I’m tearing them right out of their womb. I’m killing somebody’s child. That’s what it took to get me to change.
My own sense of self-esteem went down the tubes. I began to feel like a paid assassin. That’s exactly what I was. You watch the movies, when somebody goes up to a hit man and pays them to kill someone; that’s exactly what I was doing. It got to a point that it just wasn’t worth it to me anymore. The money wasn’t worth it. “Poor women,” my butt. I don’t care. This was coming out of my hide, costing me too much personally. For all the money in the world, it wouldn’t have made any difference. So I quit.
Putting the genie back in the bottle
In the strangest of ironies, Bernard 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 v. 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 (43 million and counting) 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.”
When we honestly face the sheer barbarism and brutality of abortion – some of which amounts to infant torture and murder – we’re left with a dilemma.
Most people who consider themselves “pro-choice” are, by all appearances, reasonable and caring human beings. And yet they condone, and some even champion, the right to perpetrate the very acts of deception, betrayal, mutilation, torture and killing described in these pages. How can this be?
In searching for an explanation, Bernard Nathanson compares America’s abortion “holocaust” with what occurred in Germany during WWII. While some might call that a stretch, there are at least a couple of parallels that are both stunning and inescapable – and very instructive.
During the Nazi era, it’s a fact that many “reasonable and caring” Germans somehow came to regard Jews as less than human. Somehow their perception had been so tampered with that, although their physical eyes would see a human being, in their minds they saw the Jew as something less than human and therefore disposable.
For that matter, even in our own nation during the Civil War era, the Supreme Court in its infamous Dred Scott decision denied the full personhood of Americans of African origin, and ruled that they could never become U.S. citizens. Writing for the court majority, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney said blacks have “no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever profit could be made by it.”
But what about the Declaration of Independence, with its bedrock affirmation that “all men are created equal”? How did the Supreme Court get around that? According to Chief Justice Taney: “It is too clear for dispute, that the enslaved African race were not intended to be included, and formed no part of the people who framed and adopted this declaration …”
As it has so many times throughout history, this same dehumanizing phenomenon – complete with an illegitimate blessing by the U.S. Supreme Court – has occurred once again, this time with unborn children as the victims.
Whereas once upon a time pregnant mothers were respectfully, lovingly referred to as being “with child,” today we coldly refer to the unborn not as a child but as a “fetus.” Indeed, the word “fetus” has taken on qualities and characteristics convenient to the pro-abortion viewpoint –implying something less than human, with little intrinsic worth, and therefore disposable. If an abortionist or “pro-choicer” looks at a “fetus,” his eyes will see a perfectly formed human child – for that is what a fetus actually is – but his mind will see an ugly, nonhuman, disposable lump of tissue.
Interestingly, if there were no word for “fetus,” such a switch of realities would be more difficult. The word itself becomes a convenient carrier of the “ugly, nonhuman” characteristics, and is thus a key tool for denying the humanity of the unborn human child.
We’re dealing with very deep denial here. Let me offer a personal example: More than two decades ago, as a news reporter I confronted a Planned Parenthood attorney with a photograph of a white, five-gallon plastic bucket filled with dead, late-term human babies – the results of one day’s abortions at a Canadian hospital. His response was to deny that what he saw were really human babies, and suggested that perhaps they were actually dead monkeys. Mind you, this man made his living defending the world’s largest abortion provider – but when he saw real abortions, he denied what was right in from of his own eyes.
Babies, “fetuses,” monkeys? This sleight-of-hand substitution of a false reality for the real one may make more sense when you consider that a skilled hypnotist can cause his subject to see a doll as a real baby – and more chillingly, to see a real baby as only a doll.
But we’re not talking about hypnosis here – or are we?
When a stage hypnotist can so quickly and dramatically alter his subject’s perceptions –quickly making an educated adult forget his own name, think he’s a yodeling champion, or strut around on state clucking like a rooster – isn’t it reasonable to think that whatever mysterious dynamics allow this sort of mental manipulation on stage would also crop up, perhaps in more disguised ways, in “real life”?
If so, how does a population get itself into such a trance, such a grotesque and deadly delusion, all the while thinking it’s embraced something enlightened and liberating?
In the case of Nazi Germany, the answer is obvious. There was one, national hypnotist-in-chief, a leader-manipulator who understood the wounded pride of a people crushed by their total loss of WWI and humiliated by the subsequent Treaty of Versailles. Understanding their angers and their intense need to reclaim their national pride, Hitler played the German people like a virtuoso violinist plays a Stradivarius. Bypassing reason, he appealed directly and intensely to raw emotion and he radically altered their perception of reality.
In America, the process is much more subtle.
First, over the last few decades our nation embraced the notion that total sexual freedom, without marriage, without restriction of any kind, is a right – an entitlement. We’ve been seduced into separating sexuality from its God-ordained purpose – the sanctified union between husband and wife, within the protective confines of marriage, from which issues the most precious of all things – our children. We have abandoned reason and self-restraint in favor of the self-indulgent fulfillment of our personal desires and lusts. And logically, if sex without consequences is the top priority – which it has become – then abortion simply has to be OK, no matter what.
Second, a huge factor in making abortion acceptable, indeed a fundamental American right, has been the change in American law: Whether in Nazi Germany or in Roe v. Wade America, legalizing something is immensely powerful in persuading people of the moral acceptability of immoral acts. In fact, for a great many people, legal equals moral.
Today, in America, the unborn baby is the obvious victim of the abortion holocaust. But there are other victims. Vulnerable young women are deceived by manipulative counselors and unscrupulous “health professionals” into believing their unborn babies are not human, only to find out too late, in the recovery room or shortly thereafter, that they ended the lives of their own children. What crueler trick could one play on a mother?
In truth, millions of people who think of themselves as “pro-choice” are victims of sophisticated marketing campaigns, designed to appeal to their deepest feelings about freedom and equality, while simultaneously hooking them through powerful appeals to their selfishness.
Understand that marketing evil is different from marketing blue jeans. In the commercial world, you profile people in your target market and map out strategies for selling to them. You’re appealing to them, yes, but you’re not changing them, just understanding their mental-emotional-cultural makeup and reaching in and pushing buttons to elicit the desired response.
In marketing evil, however, a much more profound process is at work. You’re in the business of changing, seducing, corrupting people. And the way back is not so easy – because we all exist in a state of pride, which means we don’t like to see we’ve done something wrong. So, once we’ve been tempted to cross the line – in this case, to have an abortion – our very consciousness and loyalties often change.
In the same way, many of the physicians who perform abortions have also been victims of sorts, pressured to do so by an amoral and cowardly medical establishment. Each in his own way has fallen prey to the appealing rhetoric of the abortion marketer who justifies their destructive acts and anesthetizes their consciences.
Let’s take a closer look at how easily a person’s conscience can be deadened and their perceptions tampered with:
As Dr. Brewer explained, medical students go against their conscience by learning to perform abortions because their residency chief insists they must if they ever want to become doctors. The residency chief is an authority, and authorities exert an automatic hypnotic effect on suggestible people. (Indeed, people’s vulnerability to an authority’s “suggestion” is a core principle of hypnosis.) And what makes the “subject” here suggestible? The fact that the med student’s future career is at stake provides a strong inducement for him to give up his principles to fulfill the requirements for success in his chosen field.
When people are the victims of con men, they often are loath to recognize that they have been deceived, simply because they don’t want to think they have exercised bad judgment or done anything wrong. In this example, once the medical student started performing abortions, before long he could no longer see that it was wrong. Moreover, the decreasing conflict he felt each time he performed an abortion is evidence of a movement away from conscience as his involvement progressed. This mirrors the pattern in all corruption – the first lie, the first act of embezzlement, the first rape, the first murder is always the hardest.
The Bible describes this seduction process whereby we ignore our conscience so we can obtain some perceived advantage, as well as the spiritual blindness that is our only real reward:
Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.– Acts 28:26-27
From its inception in the 1960s, America’s legal and cultural embrace of abortion has been based on lies, deception, greed and monumental selfishness. Bernard Nathanson courageously exposed the cynical marketing campaign he led – the fabricated statistics, the slogans, the issue positioning by public relations professionals and the cowardly cooperation of a servile news media. The other repentant abortion providers profiled here further illustrate the emotional manipulation and deceit – not to mention the betrayal, suffering and death – that have characterized the abortion movement from the start.
But these are only a few stories. There’s not enough room to go into the utter fraud of Planned Parenthood, the world’s largest abortion provider, founded by the racist eugenicist Margaret Sanger, who preached the inferiority of non-white races and had close ties to Hitler’s director of genetic sterilization, Ernst Rudin.
There’s not enough room to go into detail about Norma McCorvey – the original “Jane Roe” on behalf of whom the Roe v. Wade case was fought and won. Guess what? McCorvey now admits Roe v. Wade was a fraud, and that she was “used” by abortion-rights attorneys in their quest to legalize the procedure. In fact, in 2003 McCorvey filed suit in federal court to have Roe v. Wade overturned. Among her 5,437 pages of evidence were affidavits from more than 1,000 women who testified that having an abortion had devastating emotional, physical and psychological effects on them. Today, McCorvey is passionately and publicly committed to undoing the damage she did in her earlier years and putting the abortion genie back in the bottle.
Ah, but this is not easily done. McCorvey has encountered the same bizarre denial that Nathanson has on his journey to personal redemption. After years of promoting abortion and helping to make it acceptable in the minds of the media and the public, Nathanson could not undo his earlier manipulations. Once he sold his followers on the abortion idea, he could not un-sell them – even by explaining the mechanics of behind-the-scenes manipulation, or by producing films showing frighteningly clear video footage of the horrors of abortion.
In truth, it’s one thing to make a person do something wrong by deceiving him into thinking that it was right, but it is quite another thing to get him to face the fact that it was wrong, and that he has been deceived. The human ego doesn’t like to see that it is wrong.
Whether this seduction comes by way of an instructor in medical school, by peer pressure from friends or parents to have an abortion, or by Planned Parenthood (an authority figure for scared teenagers), the seduced no longer sees reality as he or she once saw it, but as the seducer-authority sees it. Of course, there is a temporary comfort in this for the victim. He or she has been set free to pursue whatever course is most convenient or advantageous or pleasurable – thanks to abortion.
However, due to the unnaturalness of the conditioning process, the pain of suffering and tragedy can often jolt people back into a state of consciousness and awakening. Dr. Levantino mysteriously “woke up” from his “trance” to the horror of his abortion practice when his own daughter died. Dr. McMillan woke up while standing at the sink at the back of her clinic, examining the ripped-apart body of a little aborted baby. Although she had done this examination hundreds of times before, this time, for some mysterious reason, her consciousness was awakened as she realized for the first time that this was a human baby.
Sometimes self-deception, like a rubber band, can be stretched only so far before it breaks or snaps back to normal.
When the Nazi Holocaust finally came to an end, Allied soldiers led the horrified German population – the law-abiding, government-believing, “reasonable and caring” 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. For 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 – 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.
Don’t look down on these people. At least they 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? What will we then think of the marketers’ slogans?
“Women must have control over their own bodies.”
“Safe and legal abortion is every woman’s right.”
“Who decides? You decide!”
“Abortion is a personal decision between a woman and her doctor.”
“Who will make this most personal decision of a woman’s life? Will women decide, or will the politicians and bureaucrats in Washington?”
“Freedom of choice – a basic American right.”
Despite all the clever marketing, this has been a story of great horror and injustice. But it is also one of hope. After all, if people who have performed thousands of abortions can find the courage and love to face the painful reality of what they have done in the past, and now embrace life rather than death, maybe there’s hope that the rest of America can join in their confession and share their healing.
The preceding is excerpted from “The Marketing of Evil: How Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts Sell Us Corruption Disguised as Freedom” by David Kupelian, published by WND Books.