Blackballing Nat Hentoff by Mark Judge.
A couple weeks ago I got a call from Nat Hentoff. Hentoff, 86, is a legendary civil libertarian and journalist. He’s at the point is his career when he should just be sitting back and receiving lifetime achievement awards. But there’s one problem.
Nat Hentoff is pro-life. He had called from New York to thank me for some pro-life columns I had written. I was stunned; Hentoff is one of my favorite writers, and him reaching out is a tremendous honor. I’m a jazz fan and have been reading Hentoff’s columns for 25 years. (The man actually met Duke Ellington!) We talked about our jazz favorites, including my favorite singer Kurt Elling. Hentoff is still mentally sharp, even if he is doing physical therapy for various age-related issues.
Hentoff’s conversion from pro-choice to pro-life, and the fallout that resulted, is explained in an essay in the new book, The Debate Since Roe: Making the Case Against Abortion 1975-2010. It’s a compendium of essays from the journal Human Life Review.
A famous liberal who was a staple at the Village Voice and who had a column in the Washington Post, in the 1980s Hentoff actually let himself be swayed by evidence about abortion. It happened when Hentoff was reporting on the case of Baby Jane Doe.