John Jalsevac

Former abortionist, top pro-life advocate Bernard Nathanson dies at 84

John Jalsevac
John Jalsevac

Brief 2008 video presentation by Dr. Nathanson on support of South Dakota Initiative 11.

February 21, 2011 ( – Bernard Nathanson, the former abortionist turned top pro-life activist who is perhaps best known for his role in creating the pro-life video The Silent Scream, died at the age of 84 this morning after a lengthy battle with cancer, reports the National Catholic Register.

At one time Nathanson was deeply entrenched in the American pro-abortion movement, having co-founded the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) and overseen 75,000 abortions as director of an abortion clinic.

Nathanson’s high-profile conversion to the pro-life movement was sparked by the advent of the ultrasound machine in the early 1970s.  He has related how he was moved to acknowledge the humanity of the unborn child after he watched an unborn baby recoil from a vacuum abortion device before being sucked from its mother’s womb.

Nathanson titled the video of this incident The Silent Scream and began using it to spread the pro-life message.

“Today our movement mourns the passing of one of its greatest voices for life,” said Lila Rose of Live Action Films in a statement today. “Dr. Nathanson is a testament to God’s grace; that any heart can be transformed into a beacon of love and truth. In his memory, and as the battle in Congress rages these next two weeks, let us work tirelessly to aid Dr. Nathanson’s brave efforts in exposing evil and protecting the innocent.  Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”

In an interview with the Washington Times in 2009 Nathanson explained: “My switch to pro-life had nothing to do with religion.” Instead he changed his mind purely “based on the scientific evidence ... based on fetoscopies and ultrasound studies.” However, he subsequently converted to the Catholic faith.

The Register reports that Nathanson’s godmother for baptism, pro-life activist Joan Andrews Bell, spoke to the former abortionist earlier this month when he was already too weak to speak at length.

“He said he was praying for us, and I told him we love him and pray for him, too,” she said.

“He will be remembered as a very strong advocate for the babies,” she continued. “One factor stood out, knowing him over the years, and that was that he had a deep pain for what he had done in terms of abortion. I remember there were periods he was fasting; he underwent huge amounts of fasting to make up for it.”

“He was like St. Paul, who was a great persecutor of the Church, yet when he saw the light of Christ, he was perhaps the greatest apostle for the Gospel. Dr. Nathanson was like that after his conversion. He went all around the world talking about the babies and the evils of abortion. Being his godmother was such an amazing thing, to see him come to Christ.”

Jim Hughes, vice-president of International Right to Life and president of Campaign Life Coalition in Canada told LifeSiteNews, “I’ve known Bernie Nathanson for almost 30 years. He was a true inspiration for all of us.”

Hughes says his group had Nathanson come to Canada a number of times over the years and one occasion was especially memorable. He recalled when “Nathanson and Canadian abortionist, Henry Morgentaler were on the Charrington Show out of Hamilton, Ontario, and it was rather comical when Morgentaler put forward his ideas defending his practice of abortion. Nathanson laughed and said, ‘I invented all those phrases, I invented those statistics, etc.” “It was quite the experience,” says Hughes.

Hughes noted that Dr. Nathanson “was also the catalyst that caused us to start Canada’s national pro-life newspaper, the Interim, 28 years ago.” He explained, “we brought him to Toronto in January or February, 1983 and arranged a press conference. The media all turned out to hear him, but very few reported what he had to say. So we decided we had to start our own media and launched the Interim newspaper in March.” The Interim is still published every month.

Following his conversion Nathanson exposed the fact that he and NARAL often lied about key facts and figures in the effort to push the legalization and acceptance of abortion, saying that they were “guilty of massive deception.”

In a radio program in 2008 he explained, “We claimed that between five and ten thousand women a year died of botched abortions. The actual figure was closer to 200 to 300.”

“We also claimed that there were a million illegal abortions a year in the United States,” he continued, “and the actual figure was close to 200,000. So, we were guilty of massive deception.”

In the same 2008 program Nathanson lamented that increasingly abortion was being used as a form of birth control: “One of the myths that was fed to the public through the media was that legalizing abortion would only mean that abortions taking place illegally, would be done legally. But in fact, abortion is now being used primary as a method of birth control all over the world and in the USA too.”

Nathanson is the author of a number of books, including Aborting America, and his autobiography, The Hand of God.

In the Hand of God he related how he aborted one of his own children; he said: “I am one of those who helped usher in this barbaric age.”

However, Nathanson has been widely acknowledged as being one of the most influential and powerful forces in the pro-life movement in the last several decades.

See related story:

Pro-life leaders mourn passing of pro-life great Dr. Bernard Nathanson

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Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve

Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

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Building of the European Court of Human Rights.
Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website,, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

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A vibrant church in Africa. Pierre-Yves Babelon /
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

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By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

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