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.
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