Actress and political activist Lena Dunham is praising abortionist Dr. Willie Parker – who says his Christian “calling” is to perform abortions for poor women – as “the pro-choice hero we need.”
Writing at Lenny, a weekly online feminist newsletter created by Dunham and Jennifer Konner, Dunham reviews Parker’s new book, Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice, in which the abortionist describes his journey from being a faith-filled anti-abortion OB/GYN, to – as Dunham describes – “being the person who did the terminating.”
“I have been amazed by Dr. Parker’s work: his heroism in comforting women who are, like him, religious and, unlike him, deeply afraid,” Dunham writes, pointing to the African American abortionist’s travels throughout the South, “performing abortions for women who would not otherwise have access due to changing laws and terrified doctors.”
Dunham continues that she was honored “to donate to [Parker’s] abortion fund for the South” and recommends to her readers that they also consider one of the “wealth of ways to support women with dwindling access to abortion.”
In February, the New York Times also published a positive interview with Parker, during which he admitted abortion is a process that ends a life, but still rationalizes:
Here’s the thing: Life is a process, not an event. If I thought I was killing a person, I wouldn’t do abortions. A fetus is not a person; it’s a human entity. In the moral scheme of things, I don’t hold fetal life and the life of a woman equally. I value them both, but in the precedence of things, when a woman comes to me, I find myself unable to demote her aspirations because of the aspirations that someone else has for the fetus that she’s carrying.
Amazon’s description of Parker’s book is as follows:
In Life’s Work, an outspoken, Christian reproductive justice advocate and abortion provider (one of the few doctors to provide such services to women in Mississippi and Alabama) pulls from his personal and professional journeys as well as the scientific training he received as a doctor to reveal how he came to believe, unequivocally, that helping women in need, without judgment, is precisely the Christian thing to do.
In revealing his daily battle against mandatory waiting periods and bogus rules governing the width of hallways, Dr. Parker uncovers the growing number of strings attached to the right to choose and makes a powerful Christian case for championing reproductive rights.
In July of 2015, leftwing website In These Times asked Parker how he justifies his work as an abortionist with his Christian faith.
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. 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. It’s hard to get angry and combative with him when I’m focused there. But 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. The anti-choicers try to rev me up, but I seek to remain in that place of compassion. I’m aware how much energy anger expends.
Parker claims to be a “feminist” and asserts that “all human rights are thwarted by patriarchy.”
“I do this work precisely because the women who are in a position to consider abortion are disproportionately poor and women of color,” he said. “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.”