Dr. Willie Parker is a Harvard educated ex-medical director for Planned Parenthood who insists that he performs abortions because he is a Christian. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, however, finds his theology of ending a life in the name of Jesus "disturbing."
Parker, a Washington, D.C.-based late-term abortionist is one of just two doctors who conducts abortions at the Jackson Women's Health Organization in Mississippi. It is the last remaining abortion clinic in the state and Parker has recently become the face of a fight to keep it open.
Last month he testified in support of a bill called the Women's Health Protection Act, introduced by Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin, at a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The legislation would make it more difficult for states to regulate abortion clinics. During his testimony, Parker said he believes that Mississippi is on the frontline of a war against abortion in the United States.
"If there is a war to defend the right to safe and legal abortions, then Mississippi, where I practice, is on the frontline," Parker said.
On July 30, a day after a federal court blocked a Mississippi law requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, Esquire published a feature celebrating Parker's gospel under the headline: THE ABORTION MINISTRY OF DR. WILLIE PARKER.
Parker, who notes in the article that he was a preacher when he was a young boy, tells his clients in the article that there is nothing morally wrong with abortion.
"The last thing I want to say is a lot of times when you come, there might be protesters. There are people that are going to be telling you that what you're doing is wrong. It's immoral. That you can't be a Christian. That you're going to hell. And a lot of women that bothers. Because there are women here who also have a religious belief, who also feel like they're Christians," Parker told his abortion clients in the article after running through a series of legally required notices.
"There's nothing immoral about making the decision to not become a parent before you want to become one. There's more than one way to understand religion and spirituality and God. I do have belief in God. That's why I do this work. My belief in God tells me that the most important thing you can do for another human being is help them in their time of need," he added.
"The protesters say they're opposed to abortion because they're Christian," Parker explained. "It's hard for them to accept that I do abortions because I'm a Christian."
In a blog post on Monday, however, Moore, dismissed Esquire's feature on Parker as: "One of the most disturbing articles I've ever read."
"The profile portrays Parker as he prepares women for the abortions he is selling them. He tells them to ignore everything but their own consciences, and then, of course, he informs their consciences that abortion is morally acceptable. 'If you are comfortable with your decision, ignore everything from everybody else,'" noted Moore.
"Apparently, he [Parker] knows how to ignore everything else, including the conscience. The article quotes him talking a woman through an abortion by telling her that her unborn child is 'very small,'" he continued.
Moore then challenged Parker's theology on abortion.
"Parker says his 'come to Jesus' moment, persuading him of the 'call' to abortion, happened when he heard a sermon by Martin Luther King Jr. on Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan. By performing abortion, Parker sees himself as the Samaritan, caring for the beaten neighbor on the side of the road," noted more.
"That would be true, of course, if the Samaritan in Jesus' story had euthanized the neighbor, to put him out of his misery. Of course, he didn't. Instead, the Samaritan took the neighbor on as his own kin, nursing him back to health and caring for him, a picture that looks a lot like what many of the pro-life churches and organizations Parker dismisses are, in fact, doing for women in crisis and their babies," said Moore.
"We can pray that this abortion doctor hears and receives that sort of mercy that transforms the direction and purpose of his life. We can pray for a 'come to Jesus' moment that puts him on the right side of the Jericho Road," he ended.