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Abortion provider says he performs the procedure out of ‘Christian compassion’

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. (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for the Center for Reproductive Rights)

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Dr. Willie Parker, an abortion provider and the board chair of Physicians for Reproductive Health, said that he wants to take the moral high ground back from the pro-life movement.

In his new book, "Life's Work: A Moral Argument for Choice," Parker wrote that he decided to become an abortion provider to “exercise Christian compassion not by proxy, but with my own capable hands."

Parker told Rolling Stone that Martin Luther King Jr.'s sermon, "I've Been to the Mountaintop," influenced his decision to perform abortions.

“That sermon by Dr. King was instrumental in me examining my role in addressing injustice and oppression,” he said, noting that, in addition to King, the writings of Malcolm X influenced his choice.

“Their sense of work is from a deep place of humanity and wanting for others what you want for yourself,” Parker said. “The courage that's necessary to assert yourself on behalf of human dignity, they modeled that for me, despite risk.”

Parker claimed that the pro-life movement offers a “narrative that is patently false” about abortion, telling Rolling Stone that he details what happens in an abortion procedure in the book.

“I think we've empowered people opposed to abortion by being mute or defensive about the biological realities of pregnancy termination,” he said.

Asked about state and federal policies regarding abortion, Parker said that since Roe v. Wade — the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide — has been in place for 44 years, conservatives have embraced a “long-term strategy” to combat it.

“hose opposed to abortion came to understand what liberals don't understand: that a sustained political engagement at every level was critical to them shifting the ground,” Parker said. “Conservative folk don't vote every four years — they vote in every political cycle.”

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