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 started blogging with Feministing in 2008, and now runs partnerships and strategy as a co-Executive Director. She is also the Director of Youth Engagement at Women Deliver, where she promotes meaningful youth engagement in international development efforts, including through running the award-winning Women Deliver Young Leaders Program. Lori was formerly the Director of Global Communications at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and has also worked at the United Nations Foundation on the Secretary-General's flagship Every Woman Every Child initiative, and at the International Women’s Health Coalition and Human Rights Watch. As a leading voice on women’s rights issues, Lori frequently consults, speaks and publishes on feminism, activism and movement-building. A graduate of Harvard University, Lori has been named to The Root 100 list of the most influential African Americans in the United States, and to Forbes Magazine‘s list of the “30 Under 30” successful mediamakers. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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

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