Abortionist claims MLK inspired his practice; another paper fails to challenge him

Whatever convinced Willie Parker to embrace abortion, it wasn’t the Gospels or Martin Luther King.

Abortionist Dr. Willie Parker

If you thought what late-term abortionist Willie Parker told the Washington Post last week was bad, just wait until you see what he told the New Jersey Star-Ledger on Sunday. Speaking to the Ledger’s Julie O’Connor (whose questions were every bit as soft as the Post’s Sarah Kliff’s), Parker incredibly cites his faith and Martin Luther King as inspirations for his bloody work:

I wrestled with the morality of it. I grew up in the South and in fundamentalist Protestantism, I was taught that abortion is wrong.

Yet as I pursued my career as an OB/GYN, I saw the dilemmas that women found themselves in. And I could no longer weigh the life of a pre-viable or lethally flawed fetus equally with the life of the woman sitting before me.

In listening to a sermon by Dr. Martin Luther King, I came to a deeper understanding of my spirituality, which places a higher value on compassion. King said what made the good Samaritan “good” is that instead of focusing on would happen to him by stopping to help the traveler, he was more concerned about what would happen to the traveler if he didn’t stop to help.

Presumably, a “deeper” understanding of Parker’s spirituality would directly confront the alleged flaws in his earlier interpretation of his Protestantism and have clear, substantive reasons for rejecting the Bible’s lessons against taking innocent unborn life. But if Parker truly “wrestled with the morality,” if his understanding of God’s will truly is “deeper,” then why doesn’t he so much as mention the reasons why Christians consider abortion intolerable, and the reasons why he now considers those reasons invalid?

And no, Parker’s claim that seeing the plight of pregnant women convinced him to give lesser consideration to the unborn doesn’t even begin to constitute such a refutation. He doesn’t discuss why viability is relevant, why lethal flaws are relevant, what the science tells us, whether there are non-violent ways to help these women, or where in the Bible he finds any sort of permission to weigh such lives unequally. He puts forth a radical theological and medical proposition – that doctors can take it upon themselves to judge the worth of their patients’ lives – yet does none of the intellectual heavy lifting necessary to support it.

Parker’s invocation of Dr. King is similarly outrageous. He’s referring to the following passage in King’s 1968 “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech:

Jesus immediately pulled that question from mid-air, and placed it on a dangerous curve between Jerusalem and Jericho. And he talked about a certain man, who fell among thieves. You remember that a Levite and a priest passed by on the other side. They didn’t stop to help him. And finally a man of another race came by. He got down from his beast, decided not to be compassionate by proxy. But he got down with him, administered first aid, and helped the man in need. Jesus ended up saying, this was the good man, this was the great man, because he had the capacity to project the “I” into the “thou,” and to be concerned about his brother. […]

That’s a dangerous road. In the days of Jesus it came to be known as the “Bloody Pass.” And you know, it’s possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around. Or it’s possible that they felt that the man on the ground was merely faking. And he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt, in order to seize them over there, lure them there for quick and easy seizure. And so the first question that the priest asked — the first question that the Levite asked was, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

King’s message of selfless compassion for those in need is clear and powerful…and it has nothing to do with abortion. The story of the Good Samaritan is a scenario with two major factors: the needs of the man on the road, and the needs of the traveler. Parker casts his patients as the former and himself as the latter, but in pregnancy there’s a third player with a third set of needs, someone with no counterpart on the road to Jericho: the baby. The Samaritan’s story is concerned with our obligation to risk our own well-being to help others; it tells us nothing about what to do when we’re asked to help one person by hurting another.

Whatever convinced Willie Parker to embrace abortion, it wasn’t the Gospels or Martin Luther King. Something else persuaded him to reject his faith’s teachings on respect for human life. If his interviewers weren’t more interested in giving his abortion advocacy a platform than in digging for the truth, maybe we’d know what.

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