An abortion doctor who is a professing Christian says he began performing abortions after having an “epiphany” while listening to a sermon about the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
Willie Parker, an OB/GYN who provides abortions at clinics in five states (Alabama, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Illinois), said during a February debate with a pro-life apologist that a sermon by Martin Luther King Jr. impacted his career.
“Dr. King said that … what made the Good Samaritan good was his ability to reverse the question of concern,” Parker said. “... Instead of asking what will happen to me if I stop to help this person, he asked what will happen to this person if I don't stop to help him?”
Parker listed other facts that persuaded him: “one in four women” will have an abortion by the time they’re 45, maternal mortality “in this country is at an all-time high,” and illegal abortions are unsafe.
“As someone who has chosen medicine at the craft, I have an ethical responsibility to provide healthcare to that woman,” Parker said. “And as a Christian, I'm thrilled that I have the moral responsibility to provide compassionate care to that woman, even in the face of people who stridently disagree with me, many of who share the same faith identity with me, and many of who stand silent or stand with disregard as 11 people have been murdered in the course of providing abortion care or seeking it.”
The debate was held on the campus of the University of North Carolina-Wilmington (UNCW) and featured Parker, the former medical director of Planned Parenthood Metropolitan in Washington, D.C., and Mike Adams, professor of criminology at UNCW and a pro-life speaker with Summit Ministries. Parker calls himself a Christian reproductive justice advocate and is author of a book, Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice.
Adams took exception to Parker’s use of the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
“I agree that the Good Samaritan is a good parable because I often ask the question: Who is my neighbor? And I'll answer that question for you right now. The unborn is my neighbor,” Adams said. “You will notice something about that parable -- when someone was robbed and beaten and lying by the side of the road, you know what the Good Samaritan didn't do? The Good Samaritan didn't stop by the side of the road and slit his throat and slowly and methodically dismember him. I believe that the Good Samaritan parable is a pro-life parable, and I don't appreciate it being hijacked in the name of God. That is obscene.”
Adams noted that 60 million “innocent human beings” have been aborted since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
Much of the debate focused on the definitions of “human beings” and “persons.”
“Fetuses are human beings, but they’re not people,” Parker said. “And if a fetus is not a person and a woman is a person, they may both have moral weight but that moral weight is not equal. And the question becomes, given that a fetus is inside of a woman, how do you give rights to a fetus that you don't take away from the woman that it's inside of?”
Adams said Parker was clouding the reality of abortion.
“It's about intentionally killing complete human beings, distinct living and whole human beings, and doing it in the name of bodily autonomy,” Adams said. “... You cannot pit the right to life against the right to liberty or against the pursuit of happiness. Why? Because there is no moral right to intentionally kill an innocent human being, even if it makes you freer, even if it makes you happier. Because if we did that, that would negate all rights for everyone, including the right to life itself.”
Watch the full debate below
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Summit Ministries
Video courtesy: Summit Ministries
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.