Reviews - What do customers think about The Hand of God: A Journey from Death to Life by the Abortion Doctor Who Changed His Mind?
Stunning Jan 8, 2008
Being a pro-life college student in a liberal university has its challenges. But after reading Dr. Nathanson's book I am no longer at a loss for words when it comes to arguing the abortion issue. I have written many 15-20 page papers on this issue ranging from its moral significance to its relationship with our government, (federal & state). I used much of the information that was in this book. Nathanson gave so much insight and honesty to the history of the issue that it would be impossible not to question any pro-choice stance. I challenge any pro-choicer to read this book. You might find that it is much more challenging to agrue with Nathanson; if it weren't for him you wouldn't have an argument.
Great Read Mar 17, 2007
I think that this is a great and true story by an abortion doctor. It would be good for all, pro-life and pro-choice.
Hand of GOd Book Review Sep 27, 2006
As the title explains, Dr. Nathanson was once a bona fide abortion doctor. In fact, as the back cover explains, he "was co-founder in 1969 of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL, later renamed the National Abortion Rights Action League), and was director of the Center for Reproductive and Sexual Health, then the largest abortion clinic of the world. In the late 1970's he turned against abortion to become a prominent pro-life advocate."
This semi-autobiographical work provides a look behind the sterile abortion clinic doors that populate our country. He openly talks of how the abortion movement intentionally manipulated the public to repeal the once restrictive laws concerning this barbaric practice. This included providing bogus statistics to the media and exaggerating existing reproductive problems. He carefully details the history of abortion, explains the many different techniques of performing abortions, and explains what convinced him to forsake his livelihood and give up his lucrative work.
What to like: Nathanson is intimately familiar with the abortion industry and goes into great detail about what actually goes on at a clinic. He also provides an insider's view on the machinations behind the early abortion movement.
As I was writing my extensive series on abortion, his book proved to be invaluable. He systematically explores each and every credible pro-choice argument and points out their faulty logic and shortcomings. Believing himself to be a man of science, he increasingly found himself questioning his abortion practice as ultrasound and sonogram technology developed. Soon these fledgling concerns grew to absolute horror as the overwhelming evidence that life begins at conception and not birth, convinced him to abandon his position as the director of New York's largest abortion clinic.
Nathanson carefully explores the scientific data that clearly shows life begins at conception, not at birth. He also works through the different definitions which philosophy has given to personhood, and details the dangers behind "endowing" a more exclusive group to "personhood". At the end of the book he also talks about proper and improper responses to abortion.
What not to like: The book starts out a little tedious. I am pretty sure the readers of this book are going to be interested in Nathanson's story only as far as it relates to abortion. Yet the first three and a half chapters of the book barely breach the subject. Instead he goes into painstaking detail on his childhood and upbringing. These do help us understand why he first entered the medical field and later started performing abortions, but they do not warrant the attention he gives them.
Memorable Quote: "It was ultrasound, which for the first time threw open a window into the womb. We also began to observe the fetal heart on electronic fetal heart monitors. For the first time, I began to think about what we really had been doing at the clinic. Ultrasound opened up a new world. For the first time, we could really see the human fetus, measure it, observe it, watch it, and indeed bond with it and love it. I began to do that."
Conclusion: For the American grieved by abortion, this book is a valuable resource. Its chronicles of the early abortion rights movement help the reader understand how the practice was legalized in the first place. Nathanson's arguments for the pro-life cause are damning to the abortion movement. His clear scientific analysis of the beginning of life is, perhaps, the best I've ever read and leaves the reader with no doubt that life does, indeed, begin at conception. This book is essential for anyone who wants to learn more about the abortion debate embroiling our country today.
Interesting read Mar 11, 2006
This book is a truly fascinating account of one mans journey from the heights (if indeed it can be called that) of abortion fame as a well known abortionis who performed many, many abortions in his time as well as one of those who was instrumental in helping make abortion legal. Now, to see that turnaround, that has to be something. I was interested to see how he began to change his mind and just how difficult that in itself can be when your fame and career (not to mention your self-esteem) is built on it. I admire this man for his courage in coming out and speaking up.
Chilling Nov 14, 2005
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, Nathanson went through a couple of marriages and even personally performed an abortion on a woman pregnant with his own child. The last several chapters of the book move beyond the personal into philosophical and medical discussions on life, death, and the ethics of the abortion debate. Nathanson convincingly argues that new medical techniques prove that life begins much earlier than previously believed. He also contends that abortion is a gateway that could, if it continues to be the law of the land, lead to legalized euthanasia and the establishment of third world "fetus farms" that would supply stem cells and organs for those suffering from various diseases in this country. "The Hand of God" paints a pretty bleak picture of the abortion scene.
By far the most effect part of "The Hand of God" deals with Nathanson's discussions of the types of medical doctors that inhabit abortion clinics. Think alcoholics, drug users, quacks, and bottom of the class physicians. It's ugly beyond belief. He provides a few names and cases concerning doctors who had their licenses yanked for maiming and/or killing patients while performing abortions. One surgeon actually quit performing the procedure at the halfway point and sent the woman home because her husband didn't have enough money to pay for the operation. She later died. We tend to think of these things happening in the bad old days before Roe v. Wade turned the back alley butcher into a white coat wearing surgeon in a licensed clinic, but Nathanson's carefully documented accounts show the fallacy of that sort of thinking. Abortion clinics still draw the bottom feeders because of the morals involved. Most doctors don't want anything to do with terminating pregnancies unless the mother's life is in imminent danger. Perhaps most physicians still take the Hippocratic Oath seriously. Whatever the case, ethics still play a big role in who will or will not perform abortions in the nation's clinics.
I decided to read Nathanson's book after reading about his conversion to Roman Catholicism in Dave Shiflett's "Exodus: Why Americans Are Fleeing Liberal Churches for Conservative Christianity." I'm glad I did. I've never been a knee jerk pro-lifer despite being a strident conservative, but this book has moved me further in that direction. There is something seriously wrong with a culture that endorses abortion as a means of birth control, and there is definitely something amiss about allowing a minor to terminate a pregnancy without parental consent. I won't even get into the immorality of partial-birth abortion; I was against that procedure long before I read this book. I heartily recommend "The Hand of God." Prepare yourself, however. You might just find yourself agreeing with the good doctor by the time you turn the final page.