In the 1970s, Jewish atheist Bernard Nathanson performed thousands of abortions annually. By December 1996, he stood in Saint Patrick's Cathedral as a pro-life physician, baptized by New York's John J. Cardinal O'Connor on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Nathanson says his path to conversion was "like water flowing uphill."

"This was not a giant jolt," Nathanson told CT. "It was more like a speed bump, because I've been going to the Catholic church for two years. It was a logical culmination of the direction I've been moving." He presided over 60,000 abortions and cofounded the National Abortion Rights Action League. But in 1979, Nathanson performed his last abortion. He converted to the pro-life cause and wrote Aborting America.

For several years Nathanson served as the most prominent atheist in the pro-life movement. He narrated the pro-life films Silent Scream and Eclipse of Reason. Even as he became a pro-life activist, Nathanson wrestled with guilt over the abortions he had performed. Nathanson began considering the existence of God after witnessing several Operation Rescue demonstrations.

February 3, 1997 Vol. 41, No. 2, Page 75

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