Dr. Willie Parker speaks onstage at the Center for Reproductive Rights 2014 Gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center on October 29, 2014 in New York City. (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for the Center for Reproductive Rights)
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In an interview with New York Times Magazine published Wednesday, Dr. Willie Parker, an abortion provider and the board chair of Physicians for Reproductive Health, said that “a fetus is not a person,” but rather “a human entity.”
The Times interviewer noted that Parker, the author of the forthcoming book “Life’s Work,” concedes that “abortion is, actually, a life-ending process.”
“Here’s the thing: Life is a process, not an event,” he replied. “If I thought I was killing a person, I wouldn’t do abortions.”
“A fetus is not a person; it’s a human entity,” Parker continued. “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.”
Asked why he thinks that “elite white women and the sacralization of motherhood” have limited to access to abortion, Parker said that “when women acquiesce to a role determined primarily by their biology of reproduction — even if it’s unconsciously — they judge each other for rejecting that primary identity.”
“So if you think that the most essential role for a woman is to procreate, and humanity doesn’t go on unless you do that, then anything to interrupt that process is to be counterintuitive or immoral,” he said.
Parker claimed it is an “insult” that abortion opponents often express concern over disproportionate rates of abortion between white and black women.
“The biggest insult is the notion that there’s such a thing as a black genocide, as if the people who care about abortion really care about black women and black babies,” he said.
He added that as a descendant of slaves, “I come from a heritage of people who know what it’s like to have your life controlled by somebody else:”
What’s most proximate to that reality right now is the direct control of women’s bodies and their reproduction, because if you don’t control your reproduction, you don’t control anything else about your life.
He said he converted to “a religious understanding” that permits him to perform abortions and “empowered me to do what I felt to be the right thing.”
Read the interview here.
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