The Republic of Poland recently ruled to ban abortions in the case of pre-natal disabilities or physical abnormality. Poland’s 2019 statistics records 1,100 abortions with 97% of these for reasons of disabilities detected in the unborn child. Note that the United States population is 100 times greater than Poland’s 38 million citizens, but our abortion rate of 1.2 million annually is 1000 times greater. Poland’s predominantly Catholic population and strong faith tradition impacts these statistics.
Another factor contributing to the reversal of Poland as a European abortion center pre-World War II, is reflected in a pro-life billboard very common on Polish roadsides. It shows Adolf Hitler and the statement: Hilter legalized abortion March 9, 1943. The Poles’ intimate experience with the horrors of death in WWII, most notably the Holocaust slaughter of millions of innocent lives, and the inhumanity that reigned for what seemed an unending hell, influenced their unshakeable opposition to injustice and human rights violations in any form. Perhaps, they understand better than most that laws of State do not determine or define justice. Laws should establish a structure for upholding it, but they cannot create it. The human conscience, mind, and heart, well-formed in altruistic compassion for the good of others, guides societies to determine what is just, so that laws reflect and frame that good. Poland learned this in a school of suffering the United States was spared in many ways. They courageously show that it is possible to be a nation without the stain of innocent blood.
Dr. Bernard Nathanson visited Poland in October 1996, just six weeks prior to his own baptism on December 8. During that visit he addressed prelates: Bishops and clergy of the Catholic Church with words that are chillingly appropriate in light of the up-coming US elections.
Below is a reprint of the address. The point is clear. I hope that spiritual leaders everywhere heed the message Dr. Nathanson offered. The flock needs Shepherds to lead them to still waters of peace, not into the valley of death.
The following is a speech Bernard Nathanson, MD gave at a press conference at the offices of the Bishop’s Conference in Warsaw, Poland on October 19, 1996.
(This text is translated back from the Polish text given by the interpreter on live
I am greatly honored that I have been given this opportunity to address such a worthy gathering. My aim is not to bore the listeners. For many years I served as Director of the largest abortion clinic in the United States (1), but as a result of my work in embryology, ultrasound, and fetology, I changed my mind 15 years ago and became an opponent of abortion. During the two years that I had worked in the biggest abortion clinic in the world, I carried out some 60,000 abortions. I even carried out the abortion of my own child. I probably have more personal experience of abortion than anyone else in the world. After 25 years work as an abortionist and in the battle for and against abortion, I know that abortion is not a medical issue. Doctors do not like being used to sort out social problems. Abortion is not only a matter affecting women. Politicians alternate either for or against it, but usually opt for the easiest [political] solution.
Abortion is above all a moral issue. It is a matter of good and evil. And so, I come here today to appeal to you.
On you depends the ability of society to find a way out of this dilemma. To explain to you how important this dilemma is I will refer you to the case in 1973 (Roe vs. Wade) in the U.S. from that time we have killed 38 million children (2). This is equal to the entire population of Poland! Abortion is a destroyer of society. In the U.S. now one in three children is born outside of marriage. The child without the father at home is the most vulnerable to drugs, sexual excess, and crime. In Washington, DC today, 75% of young black males, aged 18-25 years are either in prison or on corrective programs. They are in serious trouble with the law. This is a direct result of the family without the father. It is a moral and social matter which will not be solved [by politicians nor legalizing abortion rights.]
It is a matter for you, the Bishops and all the priests of Poland, that you should turn society away from abortion and thus protect Poland from social disintegration. I beg you to lead the (silent) march on Wednesday (3). This is not a political issue; it is a moral one. You are the shepherds and guardians of morality. If you fail to do this, you will lead your people onto a slippery slope which leads to legalized euthanasia and ends at the bottom of a valley of death with genetic engineering creating new forms of life. Already, animal genes are being combined with human genes. The “geep”, that is, the combination of sheep and goat, is so popular that the High Court of the United States has recently decided that geneticists can patent new forms of life. We are approaching the stage that patents will be taken out on human life in various false forms.
May this great nation not follow in the bloody footsteps of America, Canada and Great Britain.
Long live LIFE!
Long live Poland!
- CRASH – Center for Reproductive and Sexual Health opened in New York City in early 1970 New York state law legalized abortion
- 1996 statistic of abortions in the United States; 2020 statistic hovers over 61.3 million abortions
- Tens of thousands processed in prayerful protest before Poland’s Parliament after leaving a solemn Mass at Warsaw’s Cathedral.
She writes from her home in southern Minnesota.