The True Story of "The Silent Scream."
How Killing Was Sold In America With Deliberate Lies
In one of the most successful marketing campaigns in modern political history, the "abortion rights movement" – with all of its emotionally compelling catch-phrases and powerful political slogans – has succeeded in turning what once was the heinous crime of murder into a fiercely defended constitutional right, which does not exist in the Constitution.
During the tumultuous 1960s, after centuries of legal prohibition and moral condemnation of abortion, a handful of dedicated activists launched an unprecedented marketing campaign. Their aim was twofold: first, to capture the news media and thus public opinion, and then, to change the nation's abortion laws.
Their success was rapid and total – resulting in abortion being legalized in all 50 states, for virtually any reason, and throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Since the Supreme Court's controversial Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, American doctors have performed well over 40 million abortions.
Although polls consistently show a clear majority of Americans disapprove of unfettered abortion-on-demand, the movement's well-crafted, almost magical slogans – appealing to Americans' deeply rooted inclination toward tolerance, privacy and individual rights – have provided the abortion camp a powerful rhetorical arsenal with which to fight off efforts to reverse Roe, which struck down all state laws outlawing abortion.
In marketing wars, the party that frames the terms of the debate almost always wins. And the early abortion marketers brilliantly succeeded in doing exactly that – diverting attention away from the core issues of exactly what abortion does to both the unborn child and the mother, and focusing the debate instead on a newly created issue: "choice." No longer was the morality of killing the unborn at issue, but rather, "who decides."
The original abortion-rights slogans from the early '70s – they remain virtual articles of faith and rallying cries of the "pro-choice" movement to this day – were "Freedom of choice" and "Women must have control over their own bodies."
Bernard Nathanson, M.D., co-founder of pro-abortion NARAL
"I remember laughing when we made those slogans up", reminiscing about the early days of the abortion-rights movement in the late '60s and early '70s. "We were looking for some sexy, catchy slogans to capture public opinion. They were very cynical slogans then, just as all of these slogans today are very, very cynical."
Besides having served as chairman of the executive committee of NARAL – originally, the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, and later renamed the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League – as well as its medical committee, Nathanson was one of the principal architects and strategists of the abortion movement in the United States. He tells an astonishing story.
Changing the law on abortion
"In 1968 I met Lawrence Lader," says Nathanson. "Lader had just finished a book called 'Abortion,' and in it had made the audacious demand that abortion should be legalized throughout the country. I had just finished a residency in obstetrics and gynecology and was impressed with the number of women who were coming into our clinics, wards and hospitals suffering from illegal, infected, botched abortions.
"Lader and I were perfect for each other. We sat down and plotted out the organization now known as NARAL. With Betty Friedan, we set up this organization and began working on the strategy."
"We persuaded the media that the cause of permissive abortion was a liberal, enlightened, sophisticated one," recalls the movement's co-founder. "Knowing that if a true poll were taken, we would be soundly defeated, we simply fabricated the results of fictional polls. We announced to the media that we had taken polls and that 60 percent of Americans were in favor of permissive abortion. This is the tactic of the self-fulfilling lie. Few people care to be in the minority. We aroused enough sympathy to sell our program of permissive abortion by fabricating the number of illegal abortions done annually in the U.S. The actual figure was approaching 100,000, but the figure we gave to the media repeatedly was 1 million.
"Repeating the big lie often enough convinces the public. The number of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200-250 annually. The figure we constantly fed to the media was 10,000. These false figures took root in the consciousness of Americans, convincing many that we needed to crack the abortion law.
"Another myth we fed to the public through the media was that legalizing abortion would only mean that the abortions taking place illegally would then be done legally. In fact, of course, abortion is now being used as a primary method of birth control in the U.S. and the annual number of abortions has increased by 1,500% since legalization."
NARAL's brilliantly deceitful marketing campaign, bolstered by fraudulent "research," was uncannily successful. In New York, the law outlawing abortion had been on the books for 140 years.
"In two years of work, we at NARAL struck that law down," says Nathanson. "We lobbied the legislature, we captured the media, we spent money on public relations ... Our first year's budget was $7,500. Of that, $5,000 was allotted to a public relations firm to persuade the media of the correctness of our position. That was in 1969."
New York immediately became the abortion capital for the eastern half of the United States.
"We were inundated with applicants for abortion," says Nathanson. "To that end, I set up a clinic, the Center for Reproductive And Sexual Health (C.R.A.S.H.), which operated in the east side of Manhattan. It had 10 operating rooms, 35 doctors, 85 nurses. It operated seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to midnight. We did 120 abortions every day in that clinic. At the end of the two years that I was the director, we had done 60,000 abortions. I myself, with my own hands, have done 5,000 abortions. I have supervised another 10,000 that residents have done under my direction. So I have 75,000 abortions in my life. Those are pretty good credentials to speak on the subject of abortion."
'A window into the womb'
After two years, Nathanson resigned from C.R.A.S.H. and became chief of the obstetrical service at St. Luke's Hospital in New York City, a major teaching center for Columbia University Medical School. At that time, in 1973, a raft of new technologies and apparatuses had just become available, all designed to afford physicians a "window into the womb."
Nathanson recalls the dazzling array of cutting-edge technologies back then:
Real-time ultrasound: an instrument which beams high frequency sound into the mother's abdomen. The echoes that come back are collected by a computer and assembled into a moving picture;
Electronic fetal heart monitoring: We clamp an apparatus on the mother's abdomen, and then continuously record the fetal heart rate, instant by instant;
Fetoscopy: an optical instrument put directly into the womb. We could watch that baby, actually eyeball it.
Cordocentesis: taking a needle, sticking it into the pregnant mother's uterus and, under ultrasound, locating the umbilical arteries and actually putting a needle into the cord, taking the baby's blood, diagnosing its illnesses, and treating it by giving it medicine. Today, surgery is actually performed on the unborn!
"Anyway," says Nathanson, "as a result of all of this technology – looking at this baby, examining it, investigating it, watching its metabolic functions, watching it urinate, swallow, move and sleep, watching it dream, which you could see by its rapid eye movements via ultrasound, treating it, operating on it – I finally came to the conviction that this was my patient. This was a person! I was a physician, pledged to save my patients' lives, not to destroy them. So I changed my mind on the subject of abortion."
"There was nothing religious about it," he hastens to add. "This was purely a change of mind as a result of this fantastic technology, and the new insights and perceptions I had into the nature of the unborn child."
Nathanson expressed some doubts about abortion then, in an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine. "I was immediately summoned to a kangaroo court and was discharged from the pro-abortion movement, something I do not lose sleep over."
In 1985, intrigued by the question of what really happens during an abortion in the first three months of a pregnancy, Nathanson decided to put an ultrasound machine on the abdomen of a woman undergoing an abortion and to videotape what happens.
"We got a film that was astonishing, shocking, frightening," he says.
It was made into a film called "The Silent Scream." It was shattering, and the pro-abortion people panicked. Because at this point, we had moved the abortion debate away from moralizing, sermonizing, sloganeering and pamphleteering into a high-tech argument. For the first time, the pro-life movement now had all of the technology and all of the smarts, and the pro-abortion people were on the defensive.
Nathanson's film provoked a massive campaign of defamation on the part of the pro-abortion movement, including charges that he had doctored the film. He hadn't. "I was accused of everything from pederasty to nepotism. But the American public saw the film."
In 1987, Nathanson released another, even stronger film called "Eclipse of Reason," introduced by Charlton Heston.
"'The Silent Scream' dealt with a child who was aborted at 12 weeks," said Nathanson. "But there are 400 abortions every day in this country that are done after the third month of pregnancy. Contrary to popular misconception, Roe v. Wade makes abortion permissible up to and including the ninth month of pregnancy. I wanted to dramatize what happens in one of these late abortions, after the third month.
They took a fetuscope, which is a long optical instrument with a lens at one end and a strong light at the other. They inserted the fetuscope into the womb of a woman at 19-1/2 weeks, and a camera was clamped on the eyepiece and then the abortionist went to work.
This procedure was known as a D&E (dilation and evacuation). It involves dilating the cervix, rupturing the bag of waters, taking a large crushing instrument and introducing it way high up into the uterus, grabbing a piece of the baby, pulling it off the baby, and just repeating this procedure until the baby has been pulled apart piece by piece.
Then the pieces are assembled on a table, put together like a jigsaw puzzle, so the abortionist can be sure that the entire baby has been removed. We photographed all this through the fetuscope. This is a shattering film.
Thus did Bernard Nathanson, once a founder and top strategist of the pro-abortion movement, come to be staunchly committed to the cause of ending legalized abortion in America.
Nathanson is by no means the only abortionist to switch sides in the abortion war. Indeed, in recent years hundreds of abortion providers have left their profession. On its website, NARAL bemoans "the dwindling number of doctors willing or trained to perform abortions."
If we really want to understand how abortion has been so successfully marketed, there's no better source than those who have worked in the abortion industry. They, like no one else, really know first-hand what it's like to sell and perform abortions for a living.
David Kupelian is vice president and managing editor of WorldNetDaily.com and Whistleblower magazine, and author of the forthcoming book, "The Marketing of Evil: How Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts Sell Us Corruption Disguised as Freedom.