The New Jersey Star-Ledger recently interviewed abortion doctor Willie J. Parker on the correlation between his Christian faith and his controversial occupation. As an OB/GYN, Parker originally was opposed to abortion, but now he performs late-term abortions in Washington, D.C.
Parker begins the explanation of his conversion:
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.
Let’s clear a few things up.
First of all, a child’s ability to live outside of its nine-month natural habitat has no bearing on its right to live. (Pardon the simplistic comparison, but a goldfish isn’t viable when you empty the fish tank. That proves nothing of its inherent fishiness.) Similarly, as I have said before, children with disabilities will know life differently from how you and I know it, but their lives are not worth less than our own. The solution to a child’s life-threatening condition is not to ensure the child’s early death.
Those points aside, the main problem in the above statement is a blatant false dilemma. Rare is the case when carrying a child will end a woman’s life. Even then, the solution is to attempt to save both, not to ensure the death of one. To pin abortion as a dilemma between the survival of the mother or the survival of her child is an inaccurate appeal to our emotions. Parker is using a rare circumstance to justify abortion in all circumstances.
Parker goes on to address his faith:
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.
I became more concerned about what would happen to these women if I, as an obstetrician, did not help them.
In the famous parable of The Good Samaritan, a man is robbed and left to die on the side of the road. Two men walk by and ignore the victim. The Good Samaritan goes out of his way to save the life of the man, who would typically be viewed as an enemy. The Good Samaritan focuses solely on the needs of the victim, knowing he may never be repaid, and gives him another chance at life. Parker has good intentions in wanting to follow the example of this parable, but he has reached the wrong conclusion.
Just like the man on the side of the road, women facing unplanned pregnancies often are alone and desperately need our help. As Christians, we must follow the example of The Good Samaritan and be willing to aid these women, regardless of the cost. Crisis pregnancy centers display this Good Samaritan attitude on a daily basis.
When helping women facing unplanned pregnancies, however, we must teach them to be Good Samaritans as well. We must help mothers recognize the value of their children, even when continuing a pregnancy may be costly or difficult. This is where Parker is mistaken: ignoring the unborn child. In today’s version of “The Good Samaritan,” there are two victims needing help on the side of the road, and Parker’s solution is to kill one. Like the first two men in the parable, Parker asks that we leave the victim to die.
There is much more to be said on the incompatibility of Christian teachings and advocating for the death of unborn children. In his argumentation alone, however, Parker has presented little reason why his faith would encourage an occupation in the abortion industry. We should all look to the story of the Good Samaritan and help those in need – mother and child.
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