Not-So-Hot Samaritan

Michael Marcus

Dr. Willie Parker. Life’s Work: From the Trenches, a Moral Argument for Choice (New York: Atria, 2017)

Willie Parker first approached prominence in 2014, when Esquire presented an adulatory treatment of what it called his “Abortion Ministry.” Despite the intended purpose of Esquire’s puff piece, parts of it are grossly disturbing and not at all the sort of thing that the abortion industry wants people to read—on the order of comments from Planned Parenthood officials who don’t know that David Daleiden is recording their every word.

For example, Esquire’s intrepid reporter observes as Christian Willie tallies up post-abortion human parts. “That’s an eye,” says Willie cheerfully. Esquire’s man in the abortuary even gets to observe little fingers, “no bigger than the tip of a toothpick.”

After Esquire showed the way, other pro-abortion media outlets added their voices to the total of official adulation. Throughout this wide-eyed, bright-smiled exaltation of Willie’s reputation, there remained a substantial element of the circus freak show. Here we had not only a professed Christian who acted as a high-volume abortion provider. Here we had someone who claimed to perform abortions precisely because he was a Christian. It was as if the bearded lady made a show of busting razor blades on her adamantine facial hair.

The publication of Willie’s learned tome of theological and ethical analysis did not remove any of this freakish ambiance. On the contrary, it emphasized the contradictions and puzzlement anew.

Still prominent at the heart of Willie’s self-justification is the comparison of Willie Parker, Abortionist, to the Good Samaritan. Good Samaritan sees man assailed by robbers. Willie sees pregnant female. Good Samaritan helps victim by finding lodging and providing for recovery. Willie helps female by performing abortion. In Willie’s view, the parallels are inescapable.

It doesn’t require the slightest opposition to abortion to see the glaring flaw in Willie’s self-serving analogy. The Good Samaritan shelled out his own coin for the care of the man attacked by robbers, whereas Willie makes a point of collecting money from the person he’s professing to help. Indeed, Willie makes a point of searching out customers and securing payment for each abortion performed.

And, of course, there’s that pesky fact of the child in the womb to screw up Willie’s analogy. If Jesus in relating the parable had sought any kind of exact equivalency with the life’s work of Dr. Parker, there would have been a pair of victims left for dead by the robbers. Then the Good Samaritan could help one—for a fee—and finish off the other.

Willie does attempt to address this problem, but only in a fumbling, ignorant fashion that wouldn’t even persuade another pro-abort. Back when he was merely the darling of the Esquire crowd, he relied entirely on the judgment of the U.S. Supreme Court. If Harry Blackmun said that the human fetus was not a person, then the Gospel According to Blackmun had the full force of direct revelation for Willie and his cohorts. Willie was not then and is not now astute enough to perceive the irony that applies to him here as a black American. In Dred Scott, as is well known, the divine authority of the U.S. Supreme Court held that black slaves were not persons in the eyes of the law. Indeed, in Dred Scott, the Court went further, maintaining that any descendant of blacks brought over as slaves, presumably including Willie himself, “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” The more things change, the more they stay the same.

In the document that passes for his book, Willie fleshes out the judgment of the court, so to speak, by repeatedly emphasizing the question of viability. Do dissected humans at the fetal stage of development present what appear—surprise of surprises—to be human body parts? Scientific Willie is prepared to dismiss any conclusions drawn from this inconvenient observation. “No matter what these parts may look like, this is organic matter and does not add up to anything that can live on its own” (96). Here also Willie fails to grasp the implications of his own words. What about the man left for dead by robbers, Willie, and rescued by your predecessor the Good Samaritan? Was he able to live on his own? If so, why did he need the Good Samaritan to help him?

Willie does no better in addressing the history of Christian teaching on abortion. Indeed, he can’t really be said to address this insistently relevant topic at all. He points out that the Bible does not directly address the issue of abortion. He fails to mention The Didache, or “Teachings of the Twelve Apostles,” which does directly address the issue, and in terms that Willie’s fragile fictions could not tolerate. He fails to mention the many condemnations issued by the Catholic Church, though he does allude out of context to the theory of mediate animation. He fails to mention the pro-life stance upheld by Luther, Calvin, and other Protestant reformers whenever they wrote on the subject.

Outside of specifically Christian treatments, he fails to mention the Hippocratic tradition, upon which Western medicine was founded. He fails to mention that the nineteenth-century feminists were universally opposed to abortion.

In a rhetorical sense, of course, Willie’s omissions—and his outright historical lies, too numerous to list at this point—are necessary. Close examination of even one point omitted would completely undo his claim that there could be an exemplary Christian abortionist. But a sensible baby-killer would have avoided the claim in the first place.

Willie’s book features no scholarly apparatus—not even an informal summation of where he got his factoids. But, by studying the factoids conveyed, the reader can easily ferret out Willie’s source. The sole book consulted for such historical and theological misinformation as the book includes is a feminist screed entitled The New Our Bodies, Ourselves—a relic of leftist ideological self-deception from a concern known as the Boston Women’s Health Collective. And, no, I’m not making up a single jot or tittle of the risible nonsense that constitutes Willie’s intellectual foundation.

Incredibly, although no actual research was performed in the production of this book, the sage Willie Parker extends acknowledgment and thanks not only to a ghostwriter but to a researcher. In other words, the poor dope couldn’t even fail in scholarship all on his lonesome.

This is the final impression left by Life’s Work, which sets out to be a sort of Summa or Institutio for abortionists. Sure, Willie Parker is evil. Sure, he perfectly illustrates the banality of evil as described by Hannah Arendt. Sure, he inspires disgust when he pokes at fetal eyes while displaying a great, big, self-satisfied grin. Sure, he’s blaspheming when he invites moms to accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior right after he’s killed their kids. But—most glaringly—he’s just so dumb. It’s clear that he never had much of an intellect to begin with, but what he once had he has dismembered just as relentlessly as he’s dismembered thousands of his fellow human beings. The ultimate consequence of abortion apologetics is not just nescience but a sort of babbling, drooling incoherence.

That’s the real reason Willie is a model for his profession.