Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Buy Used
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Very Good
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Hand of God: A Journey from Death to Life by the Abortion Doctor Who Changed His Mind Hardcover – April 1, 1996

4.8 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$5.50 $0.01

Consequence: A Memoir by Eric Fair
The popular new release from Eric Fair. Learn more | See related books
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

During a period of roughly 20 years, Nathanson performed over 75,000 abortions. Since 1975, however, he has been among the leaders of the pro-life movement in the United States. Here, in a book that is part spiritual autobiography, part political campaign and part history of abortion, Nathanson explores the factors that led him into and eventually out of the abortion business. Nathanson recounts the moral hollowness and a paternalistic treatment of women and their bodies during his early years in medicine that allowed him to abort even his own child in a cold and antiseptic matter. However, the advent of ultrasound, and its images of the fetus as a developing life, along with a progressive conversion to Roman Catholicism, convinced Nathanson of the immorality of abortion and led him into a new phase of his life as a doctor. As revealing as this story is Nathanson's condescending tone and sententious sentences (e.g., "I will spare you the ineluctable Tolstoian observation, but I implore you to consider the psychological abyss that yawned beneath me") elicit very little sympathy either for Nathanson's plight or for the pro-life position.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Nathanson cofounded the pro-choice organization NARAL in 1969 and during 1971^-72 made New York's Center for Reproductive and Sexual Health the best U.S. abortion clinic--accomplishments at the forefront of the push to make abortion commonplace. Before then, he had had a frustrating life distinguished by a love-hate relationship of epic proportions with his father. The senior Nathanson was a cold husband, a cruelly domineering parent, and a Jew who denigrated Judaism yet raised his son in it; but he was a conscientious physician faithful to the Hippocratic oath with its hard line against abortion. His son followed his example in most things, only rebelling by discarding religion and championing abortion. During the 1970s, Nathanson changed, becoming an important voice against abortion and assisted suicide and fetal tissue experimentation, too. At the end of his memoir cum apologia, he imparts that he hopes to be received into the Roman Catholic Church. Thanks to a wide-ranging vocabulary and a flare for cadenced prose, he makes most of his testimony lively and enthralling reading. Ray Olson

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 206 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing (April 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0895264633
  • ISBN-13: 978-0895264633
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #395,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on November 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
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.
Read more ›
Comment 115 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
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.
Comment 58 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Bernard Nathanson no doubt speaks the truth when he claims to know the abortion issue "as perhaps no one else does." Nathanson oversaw or participated in over 60,000 abortions during his medical career, including the abortion which took the life of his own child. Thus it is especially admirable that he, unlike many others who have been involved personally with abortion, had the ability to admit to himself what we all at some level know to be true (and what is becoming harder and harder to deny with the advancement of science and medical technology)--that abortion is indeed the taking of a human life.
But admit this he does, after a personal encounter with sonographic visual images of an abortion carried out by a colleague. If anything, Nathanson's story is a testimony to the power such images have to catalyze a reevaluation of people's views on abortion. It is unfortunate that many in the pro-life movement now shy away from using graphich visual aids in presenting their case. Certainly graphic images have been missused by pro-lifers in the past, but that does not mean that they don't have a vital and proper role to play in persuading the public that abortion is a violent act against a defenseless fellow human being.
I would think anyone with an interest in the abortion debate would want to read this book. Nathanson played a critical role in the legalizing of abortion in the US (he was the co-founder of NARAL) and gives a behind the scenes look at the abortion rights movement in its infancy.
The only drawbacks I have concern the writing style and organization. Nathanson uses far too many arcane and difficult words in a book written for the general public and some parts of the book are repetitive. A couple of paragraphs are almost word for word identical.
Read more ›
1 Comment 33 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
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

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.
Read more ›
Comment 22 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews