An abortion provider speaks out: what’s really at stake in the abortion “war”

Dr. Willie Parker, MD, MPH, MSc

Grab a box of tissues and/or a “hell yah!” attitude and go read this moving first-person account from Dr. Willie Parker, a board-certified obstetrician gynecologist who provides abortions in Mississippi, the so-called “frontline” of the war against access to safe abortion services. Parker’s testimony gets at the heart of what we’re fighting for when we stand up for reproductive justice: “ dignity, health, self-determination, and the opportunity to excel and contribute.” In his words:

 

“After growing increasingly uncomfortable turning women away who needed abortion due to my feeling religiously-conflicted about providing them during my first 12 years as an ob-gyn, a sermon by Dr. Martin Luther King challenged me to a deeper spiritual understanding where compassion moved me to action on behalf of my patients. Similar to the defining quality of the Good Samaritan in Dr. King’s narrative of what made the Samaritan “good”, where the Samaritan reversed the question of concern to care more about the well-being of the person needing help than about what might happen to him for stopping to do so, my concern about women when there are no abortion services became more important to me than what might happen to me for providing the services.”

Brooklyn, NY

Lori Adelman is a writer and advocate focusing on race, gender, and sexual and reproductive rights. In addition to her work at Feministing, Lori is an Associate Director at Planned Parenthood Global. Lori has previously worked at the United Nations Foundation, the International Women’s Health Coalition, and Human Rights Watch, and has written for a host of print and digital properties including Rookie Magazine, The Grio, and the New York Times Magazine. She regularly appears on radio and television, and has spoken at college campuses across the U.S. about topics like the politics of black hair, transnational movement building, and the undercover feminism of Nicki Minaj. In 2014, she was named to The Root 100 list of the nation's most influential African Americans, and to the Forbes Magazine list of the "30 Under 30" successful people in media.

Lori Adelman is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Partnerships.

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