In order to lighten the mood, Willie J. Parker loves to talk about Alabama football while he is performing abortions. The board-certified obstetrician believes that “rather than allowing your fear to amplify any sensation you’re having, you’re having a conversation with me . . .” He calls it “verbicaine.”
Parker’s folksy attitude was on full display in an interview he did with the New York Times Magazine’s Ana Marie Cox last Sunday. Parker, who has a book coming out in April called Life’s Work, is apparently worthy of the feature because he is a religious Southern black man arguing for abortion on demand.
One can only imagine the kind of excitement building for this book. Of course, Ana Marie Cox didn’t give the same treatment to the authors of Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer. Released two weeks ago, the book, about the about the infamous abortionist who actually murdered babies when they survived the abortion procedure, has received no notice in the paper of record. In fact, the Times won’t even acknowledge the book’s blockbuster sales by putting it on its bestseller list.
But then Willie Parker has a much better story for comforting the New York Times’ abortion rights-loving audience. He explains how, because of his religious beliefs, he used to be “unable to help women when I felt deeply for their situation.” But then he had a conversion. “It felt as life-altering for me to move from being unable to do abortions to being able to do them as it did to move from being a nonbeliever to a believer.” Yes, folks, God helped Willie Parker find the power to perform abortions. Sure, he still values “fetal life,” but, he says, “I find myself unable to demote [a woman’s] aspirations because of the aspirations that someone else has for the fetus she’s carrying.”
You might think that the fact that an African-American woman is five times as likely to have an abortion as a white woman would mildly disturb Willie Parker, but you’d be wrong. He says that the notion that there is such a thing as black genocide “is an insult . . . as if the people who care about abortion really care about black women and black babies.” But the ability of Dr. Parker to casually smear tens of millions of women who are deeply troubled by abortion does not even give Cox pause.
Indeed, she is excited to have him tell her “about the connection between your heritage as the descendant of slaves and the idea that abortion is ultimately about ownership of a body.” Parker believes this is his ultimate trump card. Because slaveholders told black women what to do with their bodies, they are just like the forces that are making it more difficult for women to have abortions today.
It’s hard to say what kind of value one could place on “fetal life” and still make this argument. Is there any stage at which an abortion is not acceptable? Any reason one should not be able to procure one? Any type of abortion that’s less humane? All these questions go unanswered because at the end of the day, Willie Parker is all about helping women fulfill their “aspirations.”
Which may be why Ana Marie Cox is practically swooning over him by the end of the interview. In the final question, she wants to know why he’s not married. “Is that a choice on your part? Because you seem pretty cool!” Come on, ladies. He sounds like a real catch.