On this Clean Tuesday, I hope that my fellow Orthodox are having a fruitful Lent, and I wish Western Christian readers a good Shrove Tuesday and, tomorrow, Ash Wednesday.
A few weeks ago, Dr. Bernard Nathanson died. He had helped to found the abortion rights movement, but then he gradually changed his views and became a champion for the prolife cause. One useful—and memorable—tool that he gave to prolifers was the movie, The Silent Scream, which depicted abortion procedures and ultrasound footage of fetal reaction. Today, with advanced imaging technology, we are able to see even more clearly the activities in utero, but the movie still made a big impression on me when I was a child. I watched The Silent Scream with my mother and aunt at a local chapter meeting of the Right to Life of Cincinnati, and I was sick—really sick—for a few days afterward. I became dehydrated and had to be hospitalized. I generally knew what abortion was beforehand, but I had not really thought about it much until that movie. Ever since, I have not forgotten the sheer moral horror of abortion and what its commonality, legality, and social acceptability indicate about our society.
Princeton professor and all around genius Robert P. George has written a lovely tribute for the late doctor: “Bernard Nathanson: A Life Transformed by Truth.” As an obituary of sorts, it is a moving testimony to the power of redemption and of making amends. Bernard Nathanson—may his memory be eternal!