Friday, 18 August 2017

Forcing women to have children is akin to slavery, says a devoutly Christian abortion doctor – Los Angeles Times


Willie Parker is a 54-year old physician, nattily dressed, standing in the sumptuous backyard of a large home in the flats of Beverly Hills. Lavender jacaranda blossoms from a nearby tree float in the jumbo swimming pool, as if strewn there by a particularly decadent florist.

Here, Parker is worlds away from his workaday life, which takes place in the besieged abortion clinics of Mississippi and Alabama, states that have done their utmost to regulate abortion out of existence. He is an outspoken abortion doctor driven by his deep Christian faith, and as such, has become an unlikely new hero of the abortion rights movement.

“I believe that as an abortion provider, I am doing God’s work,” writes Parker in his new memoir, “Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice.” “I am protecting women’s rights, their human right to decide their futures for themselves, and to live their lives as they see fit.”

That is why he’s been invited to California on this lovely Tuesday evening. Parker has come from Alabama to accept a Person of the Year award from a 26-year-old abortion rights group that is not famous, but certainly deserves to be.

The group is the Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project, or WRRAP. Founded 26 years ago by Joyce Schorr, a former sales executive for Reynolds, WRRAP gives money to women who can’t afford to pay for their abortions. (Previous winners include Gloria Steinem, Dr. George Tiller, Sarah Weddington … and Kelsey Grammer, who was for abortion rights before he was against them.)

Since the early 1990s, Schorr estimates, the group has helped 40,000 women, chipping in relatively small sums, usually between $200 and $500.

“The women we help are very, very poor,” said Schorr, who owns an entertainment company with her husband, Arny Schorr, a former Rhino Records executive. “Everything is a struggle. It’s hard for them to find transportation. The last thing they need is another child to take care of.’’

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Parker grew up poor and fatherless in Birmingham, Ala. At 15, under the tutelage of a coach who was a Pentecostal minister, he became a born-again Christian. The first member of his family to attend college, he carried a Bible door to door in his dorm, spreading the gospel of Jesus. After he became an OB-GYN, he refused to perform abortions for religious reasons, but would refer women to doctors who did.



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