Recently, the New Jersey Star-Ledger published an interview with Washington, D.C. obstetrician, Willie J. Parker. As the report notes, Parker has gone from one extreme to the other in the abortion debate.
Willie J. Parker, an obstetrician based in Washington, D.C., didn’t always perform abortions. He’s a Christian from Birmingham, Ala., who initially refused to even consider the procedure.
But about halfway into his 20-year career, he changed his mind. Now, he’s one of those rare doctors who is willing to push the limits and provide abortions at 24 weeks of pregnancy. That places him among only about 11 percent of all abortion providers who will do the procedure that late in the second trimester.
When asked why he changed his outlook on abortion, Parker replied:
…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.
I became more concerned about what would happen to these women if I, as an obstetrician, did not help them.
The controversy surrounding Dr. Willie Parker, then, lies not simply in the fact that he claims to be a Christian and yet openly performs abortions, but also in that he performs and is an advocate of late-term abortions. The Star-Ledger interview continues by referring Parker to the reality that, “The vast majority of states restrict later-term abortions. Six of them do so after 20 weeks, as lawmakers are considering for D.C., on the grounds that a fetus can feel pain at some point.” Parker responded:
There is no scientific information to support that. The bulk of the scientifically credible evidence shows that the structures that are necessary to feel pain are not developed in fetuses earlier than the 25th week. Source
Yet, regardless of what one believes about when an unborn child feels pain, the simple fact remains that, whether one week in the womb or twenty, this “fetus” is a living human being. In a follow-up article, the Star-Ledger shared some reader reaction to this interview. One commenter noted,
the doctor claims he does these procedures out of compassion for the sufferings of the women aborting their babies. It’s too bad that this compassion doesn’t extend to the suffering of the babies in their wombs. Source
This is a valid statement, especially considering Dr. Parker’s profession of the Christian faith. Websites such as The Endowment for Human Development show pictures of the development of a human embryo. For those who value human life, these pictures are a wonder and a demonstration of the power and creativity of the Lord God. By 71/2 weeks, the fingers and toes of the embryo can easily be distinguished and even counted.
Dr. Parker justifies aborting babies as old as “24 weeks and 6 days,” yet by this time the embryo is a fully developed baby with facial features, expressions and of course, the soul that was given it by God upon its conception.
God is the Creator of all life, and indeed these babies, even those with developmental disorders or handicaps, are each preciously designed by this sovereign God. Amid the tragedy of so many innocent lives being extinguished at the hand of abortion doctors, may Christians at least rest in the knowledge that God knows each of these dear ones who were never given the opportunity at life.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
Psalm 139:13-16, ESV