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Hardcover Hand of God: A Journey from Death to Life by the Abortion Doctor Who Changed His Mind Book

ISBN: 0895264633

ISBN13: 9780895264633

Hand of God: A Journey from Death to Life by the Abortion Doctor Who Changed His Mind

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Book Overview

He presided over 61,000 abortions--one of which was suffered by his then-girlfriend--and directed the largest abortion clinic in the world. He had helped to legalize abortion in the first place. One day, he had a change of heart. One day, he found God. At the drop of a hat, an abortion doctor renounced his profession--and his atheism--for pro-life advocacy and Christianity. In the most shocking revelations ever expressed in an autobiography, one man...

Customer Reviews

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Many people, mostly pro-life advocates, see the abortion issue as the modern equivalent of the fight to put an end to slavery. Dr. Bernard N. Nathanson, a founder of NARAL and once one of America's premier abortion providers until he saw the light and changed sides, draws parallels between pre-Civil War America, specifically the Dred Scott decision, and Roe v. Wade in "The Hand of God: A Journey from Death to Life by the Abortion Doctor Who Changed His Mind." Those are heady claims indeed. To argue that abortion could bring the country to civil war seems a bit melodramatic. Certainly the other side, the pro-abortion advocates, don't see the issue this way. To them Roe v. Wade and subsequent court rulings expanding the ability of a woman to terminate her pregnancy is a right, pure and simple. It's a right that grows out of the Supreme Court's recognition of an inherent privacy right guaranteed by many of the amendments contained in the Bill of Rights. Any effort to curtail or roll back abortion, they argue, would not only allow the government to exercise control over a woman's body, it would also strike at the heart of the gender equality feminists have worked so hard to achieve over the past four decades. Don't expect Bernard Nathanson to resolve the issue in this slim book. This is no "Uncle Tom's Cabin" for the pro-life crowd. It's close, though. "The Hand of God" tells the story of how a lowly physician came to embrace abortion, how he began to question what he did for a living, and how he found God when he embraced the pro-life movement. According to the author, his early life played a big role in his later decision to become an abortionist. His father, a Jewish physician with misanthropic tendencies, dominated most aspects of his son's life until his death at the age of ninety-four. An imposing presence with a keen intellect and a hardscrabble background, Nathanson's father passed on to his son a suspicion of the Jewish religion and a distrust of women. For example, he encouraged his son to disrespect his mother. The father also dominated Bernard's sister, interfering in her marriage and all other aspects of her life until she committed suicide in her forties. It's obvious we're not dealing with a kindly soul here, yet Nathanson's father did do a few things to help his son. He secured him a place in medical school, for instance, and passed on a love of learning that, if this book is any indication, served Bernard Nathanson well. Unfortunately, the Hippocratic Oath Nathanson took after completing medical school didn't quite make the desired impression. His specialization in obstetrics and gynecology coupled with the tumult of the 1960s soon brought the good doctor into contact with several physicians interested in overturning the nation's abortion laws. The author plunged in with both feet, and soon found himself overseeing a clinic in New York that performed tens of thousands of abortions. Before his conversion to the pro-life movement, N

Breathtaking Honesty

Imagine you are an abortionist, responsible for the deaths of hundreds, or even thousands, of human beings. How will you tell your story to others?Perhaps, in an effort to ease your burning conscience, you will write a rambling, disjointed rationalization of your own behavior. Perhaps you will denounce those who disagree with you, resorting to ad hominem attacks.Or perhaps you will write the kind of book Bernard Nathanson did. Perhaps you will undertake a serious examination of conscience, admit your grievous errors, and dedicate the rest of your life to saving the lives of those whom you have placed in danger.Nathanson has seen abortion from the inside. He led the crusade to make it legal and pervasive. He performed abortions himself and taught others how to do them. He knows firsthand how this gruesome procedure affects the mother, the doctor, and most importantly, the baby. His credibility and standing on this issue are unparalleled.I cannot recall reading another book, apart from St. Augustine's Confessions, in which the author has so thoroughly cataloged his own failings and his efforts to ameliorate their effects. This type of candid reflection is painful for the author, but enormously valuable and instructive for the rest of us.I highly recommend this book, both for its analysis of abortion and its illuminating honesty.

A moving story told by an immensely talented writer

Dr. Nathanson's story is the main reason for this book: he wasan abortionist who saw the light, became pro-life, and ended up converting to Catholicism. And of course, that story alone would make this book well worth reading. But as it happens, Dr. Nathanson also turns out to be an extremely gifted writer. I can't stress that enough: Dr. Nathanson tells his story with such intelligence, depth of feeling, and humor that he has become one of my favorite authors of all time. "I laughed, I cried..." I really did! Catholic readers will immediately observe that Dr. Nathanson never trashes his Jewish roots, as ex-Catholics are wont to do, and will admire and respect him so much more for that. In "A Perfunctory Jew" Nathanson writes: "I do not believe that this ethical vacuum was a result of the hospital's Jewishness...Rather, the moral tenor of the place was lowered, as in the case of many Jewish institutions today, as in the house in which I was raised, by its lack of Judaism." Many Catholics will recognize the faint but unmistakable echo of their own voices in these words, and in many of the childhood experiences Dr. Nathanson so skillfully relates. I'll leave it to the other reviewers to describe the story itself, which is of course the main point of this book. Or is it? Perhaps the main point of this book is that it is brilliantly written, by an author whose immense talent is truly a gift from God and a tremendous asset to the Catholic community. The conversion of someone so gifted cannot help but validate and strengthen our faith. Although on reflection it seems inappropriate to "thank" someone for coverting, or to "welcome" him to one's Church - that is, after all, God's job - I can't seem to fight the overwhelming urge to say to Dr. Nathanson: Thank you...and a thousand welcomes to you!

Public airing of one's sins - not an easy thing to do

That's what Dr. Bernard Nathanson does with this book, and that is why I sing its praises and his.Here is a man who was responsible for the legalization of abortion in the United States, coming to terms with the dreadful consequences of his actions, publicly sharing an obviously painful part of his life, and seeking forgiveness.This is a beautiful testimony, even if it is difficult to read at times. Nathanson leads us through his life in a Jewish home and the events which led to his work as an abortionist and with NARAL.His vocabulary can be a bit challenging at times, but it is very much worth the effort. Especially chilling are Nathanson's predictions for the future. He predicts that just as we now have abortuaries one day we will have "death with dignity centers" - legalized places where we can bring our elderly to have them put to death.The book brings the reader right up to his potential conversion to Catholicism. Not long after the book was published, Dr. Nathanson entered the Catholic Church.

Must reading in the abortion debate ... for both sides.

Dr. Bernard Nathanson was a leader in the movement to make abortion "legal, affordable, and available on demand" for American women, even before the 1972 Supreme Court decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. He performed abortions, directed a large abortion clinic in New York City, and was one of the three co-founders of the organization that became the National Abortion Rights Action League. Doubts about abortion, however, were finally confirmed when ultrasound technology allowed him to to view the development of the child in the womb. He stopped performing abortions at the end of the 70's, made a video -- "The Silent Scream" -- in 1985, and joined the pro-life movement. "I know the abortion issue as perhaps no one else does," Dr. Nathanson writes. His expertise and prominence make this an informative, compelling book. Readers will find much more than autobiography in its pages. The author's recollection of his physician father makes fascinating reading by itself. Dr. Nathanson's description of an abortion in lay terms is valuable and revealing. A gruesome chapter on abortion malpractice and his discussion of RU-486 are must reading for all who deliberate public policy. Historians, who focus on causation, will be intrigued by Dr. Nathanson's rendering of the social changes in the 1960's. There are important essays on the Hippocratic oath, fetal tissue research, and the prospect of physician-assisted suicide. Shortly after this book was published, Dr. Nathanson's journey across the medical, political, and spiritual chasm caused by abortion led him to Catholicism. "The Hand of God" finally stands with the great confessional works. He writes, "The usual and customary progression is: Belief in God and His splendid gift of life leads the believer to defend it -- and become pro-life. With me, it was just the opposite: Perversely, I journeyed from being pro-life to belief in God."
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