Dr. Willie Parker wants to find common ground between both sides of abortion debate

Source: AP
Source: AP

In contemporary arguments over abortion rights, there seems to be a gaping chasm between the anti-abortion and pro-abortion rights movements.

Christian abortion provider Dr. Willie Parker is trying to change that.

In an interview with Jezebel on his new book Life's Work: A Moral Argument for Choice, the prominent OB-GYN said he's doing his best to bridge the gap between these polarized movements, because there's more room for productive dialogue than we think.

"The argument that I have, with regard to abortion being a moral issue (and not necessarily a religious one) is that I believe that men and women are equal in their agency," Parker told the outlet. "If women have moral agency and autonomy, that means that all processes that occur in their body should be governed only by that woman's decision-making."

Dr. Willie Parker
Source: 
Brynn Anderson/AP

Parker said the Left has largely failed to make a convincing moral argument for abortion because they've dismissed conservatives' views as solely religious, and therefore antiquated. But if we look for some common ground, there are ways the two camps can have a conversation about abortion that gets to the heart of the issue: women's autonomy.

"I never had any desire to abandon Christianity," Parker told Jezebel. "What became more important to me in a conscious way was embracing the compassion and the moral obligation to respond to the need of your fellow human being."

Mic took its own look at the history of the anti-abortion and pro-abortion movements and arrived at a similar conclusion as Parker: They should really have more in common than we think. 

As Mic's Allie Kokesh pointed out, if pro-lifers are really as "pro-life" as they say, they'd also feel good about fighting for rights to birth control access, affordable child care, affordable health care and yes, women's choice.

With an administration bent on restricting women's access to abortion with the ultimate goal of overturning Roe v. Wade, it's perhaps become more important than ever to have these difficult conversations with members of the opposing camp.

"Just like it took a sustained strategy to bring us to this point, it's going to take a consciousness-raising, and a deeper dive politically in a sustained way to move us back from this ledge," Parker said.

You might not be able to convince anyone to toss out their stance on abortion altogether, but for Parker, that doesn't mean it's not worth a shot.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Marie Solis

Marie is a Slay staff writer with focuses in culture and class. Her writing has appeared in Gothamist and the Awl. You can reach her at marie@mic.com.

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