Analysis

Abortion activists still lionizing Willie Parker. We’re still not buying it

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You may recall that over the years, Live Action has covered interviews with late-term abortionist Willie Parker in Esquire, the Washington Post, and New Jersey Star-Ledger. Parker stands out among his gruesome trade by framing it as a natural extension of his faith: “I do abortions because I’m a Christian.”

Last week, Stephanie Gilmore of In These Times checked in with the not-so-good doctor, and where she sees a profile in courage, we see that Parker’s theology is, if anything, even less recognizable as Christianity:

[Working as an abortionist] answers for me the question of why we are here, what this is all about. For me it’s about actualizing my own humanity by serving my fellow human beings. Compassion operates for me when I am faced by the reality that women have unplanned, unwanted pregnancies.

Yes, humanity is actualized by objectifying and destroying humanity. How does that work? Parker gives us no answer, and Gilmore isn’t interested in asking.

When the anti-abortion people come at me from the standpoint of my faith, I try to see them with compassion. I try to see the side of the guy who opposes me in Mississippi, who tells me I am a disgrace.

Well, that’s encouraging, at least. If you think it’s important to understand opposing sides, then surely you’ve considered and can explain why fetuses are not valuable innocents in God’s eyes, or why their being made in His image shouldn’t guide how we treat them, right? Oh, wait, no. He never gets around to exploring that, either.

But I know I am also working to make sure his mother, his daughter and his sister are safe and have access to this care. He is shortsighted, but I focus on the women’s needs.

Except he, as pro-lifers always do, can acknowledge the hardships of pregnancy but make an argument for why the baby’s right not to be killed ultimately overrules them, whereas Parker shows no interest in acknowledging that there’s more than one set of needs involved at all. Which sounds more shortsighted to you?

I do have my moments, when my indignation is comparable to what Jesus felt when he threw out the moneychangers from the temple. I feel that particularly when people who oppose abortion are straight-out bullying women.

Jesus, you may recall, not only affirmed the commandment against murder, but also taught that children were especially precious: “whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me […] your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” But the guy who proudly causes little ones to perish identifies with Christ rather than the people Christ felt indignation toward. Right.

To Gilmore’s question, “What are your thoughts on [pro-life group Operation Save America] and its insistence that Christianity stands in stark opposition to abortion,” Parker answers:

Operation Save America mobilizes under the guise of free speech. But their attempts to bully, coerce and cajole—to deprive people of their livelihoods because they’ve made a choice to provide reproductive healthcare—is undemocratic. Their work is the most hateful thing that can happen in the name of religion. Somebody once said there’s no right way to do the wrong thing, but this is the absolute demonstration of the wrong way to do the wrong thing. They refuse to accept our laws and our civil rights, and have resorted to creating a mob mentality that is facilitated by the appalling silence, as Dr. King used to call it, of the good people.

Note well that at no point does this answer the question. Gilmore didn’t care. Great interview!

So many of the anti-choice activists have tried to co-opt the language and iconography of civil rights by saying things like, “I want my children to be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.” But they pull that out of King’s context.

Parker would know all about that, considering he likes to take King’s Good Samaritan speech out of context, twisting his message of sacrificing our own welfare for others into an excuse to disregard preborn babies’ welfare.

They cite accusations of black genocide against me, but in my view it is the opposite: I do what I do because I love black women and black babies.

Well, Doctor, what else would you call a practice that kills more blacks in a year than the Ku Klux Klan killed in a century? It’s a funny way of expressing your “love” for black babies.

One thing that unifies all women is oppression in a patriarchal system. You’re all in the same boat when it comes to efforts to do away with reproductive rights and justice. When those things are absent, white men thrive and all women are cemented into second-class citizenship.

Patriarchy? Oppression? Women as second-class citizenship? Now it all makes sense: though he dresses it in superficial Christian rhetoric, Parker’s real religion is feminism.

As a physician I have to be open about the fact that I provide abortion care. I have to say, “I’m as skilled as any doctor in my chosen craft can be, I’m as principled as any human being on the planet, and I do abortions. There’s nothing mutually exclusive about that.”

It never ceases to amaze how little pro-aborts demand of their own heroes.

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