Dr. Willie Parker has been a devout Christian for his entire life. He would even walk from door-to-door and spread the word when he was only a teenager growing up in the Deep South. He later became a doctor specializing in obstetrics after attending Berea College, Harvard and the University of Iowa. For the first half of his medical career, Parker refused to provide abortions to patients and referred them to other physicians who would. However, in 2002, his stance changed drastically.
In a profile with Newsweek, Parker explained how listening to Dr. Martin Luther King’s final sermon helped him realize that it was time for him to change his stance on abortions.
Seeing Abortion As A Human Right
Parker interpreted the story of the good Samaritan in a way that depicts the women who come to him in need of an abortion as another version of the weary traveller who needed help.
“I am doing God’s work,” he said. “I am protecting women’s rights, their human right to decide their futures for themselves, and to live their lives as they see fit.”
RELATED: Senate Blocks Funding for Abortion, Reproductive Health Providers
Since making the ethical switch, Parker sold his condo in Honolulu, stopped practicing obstetrics and committed himself to offering women safe abortions in the many states he travels in.
As a self-described Christian, Parker’s in a very unique space. Many Christians are against abortions for religious reasons and some have even come out to criticize the doctor. He even received his first death thread in February 2016 and his faith is often called into question.
When it comes to his faith, he told Newsweek that ie being a good Christian required him to be “obligated to be homophobic, to be anti-immigrant, to be anti-non-Christian, to be anti-woman then I’m not. But I’m glad it’s not up to an individual interpretation of another person who holds the same faith identity that I do to determine my authenticity or my integrity.”
Understanding Anti-Abortion Legislation
In his latest book, Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice, he spends a lot of time walking readers through the legislative roadblocks affecting women’s rights and reproductive health. However, he also paints a vivid picture of what abortions entail, pushing back against an abundance of misinformation from those who are against them.
“I think we are where we have always been,” Parker told The Huffington Post in a recent interview. “What do I mean by that? Since Roe passed there has never been a day when the right of a woman to have an abortion hasn’t been contested. I don’t think we’ve ever been this close to abortion becoming illegal. I don’t think we’ve ever been this insular and this nationalistic. But it’s also where we’ve always been. We’re just seeing it now more explicitly.