AUSTIN, Texas — An abortionist in Mississippi who professes to be a Christian and generated controversy last month when he told college students that pro-lifers need to “get over the love affair with fetuses” has now joined an effort to push for abortion access in Texas.
Willie Parker, a former teenage Baptist preacher, recently participated in a pro-abortion event at Temple Beth Shalom in Austin to help launch a statewide campaign by so-called faith leaders to keep abortion legal in Texas. The organization is called Just Texas: Faith Voices for Reproductive Justice, and is led by the Texas Freedom Network.
The effort is stated to be “a grassroots movement of faith leaders from diverse religious traditions” who “believe most Texans of faith disagree” with banning or restricting abortions in the state. It features a variety of pro-abortion events such as the one featuring Parker last Tuesday.
“Our featured guest, Dr. Willie Parker, will share the story of his ministry serving the last abortion clinic in Mississippi—and will challenge Texans to continue resisting efforts to eliminate access to abortion in our state,” the Facebook event page for the gathering outlined.
The Religious Institute, Catholics for Choice, Texas Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry, and National Council of Jewish Women were all co-sponsors of the event, which was preceded by an abortion advocacy training event at Austin First United Methodist Church.
Parker drives twice a month to Jackson Women’s Health Organization in Mississippi to perform abortions, and is one of two abortionists who work at the facility. Both Parker and owner Diane Derzis claim that they are doing the Lord’s work in providing abortion services to women.
“The Bible tells us to love our neighbors with all our strength,” Parker told the Austin Chronicle. “Neighbors also mean struggling women who are going through times that are very complicated for them.”
Derzis was featured on ABC’s Nightline in 2013, as she contended to reporters that God was on her side in the abortion business.
“I know as fervently as they do that what I’m doing is moral and right,” she stated. “But if I’m wrong, that’s between the Lord and I.”
News footage also showed Christian Cal Zastrow calling out to Derzis, “I want you to quit killing babies. I want you to turn to the love of Jesus.”
“I have the love of Jesus,” she replied. “He approves of what I do.”
“No, you don’t,” Zastrow responded. “You have the murder of preborn children.”
In 2013, Zastrow was sprayed in the face with pepper spray by a guard outside the facility while he was singing hymns on the public sidewalk. The guard, Roy Benjamin, was found guilty in Hinds County Court of assault.
Parker, who works for Derzis, appeared last month at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in New Jersey where he presented an hour-long lecture entitled “Going to Mississippi: If I Don’t, Who Will? The Pursuit of Reproductive Justice.”
According to the publication Campus Reform, Parker told those gathered, “We have to get over the love affair with fetuses and love women and children.” He stated that he works at the Mississippi facility in order to ensure that abortion remains available to women.
But a number of Christians regularly stand outside of Jackson Women’s Health Organization to urge them not to go through with the abortion, and to provide help. Some Christians travel from across the country just to be present and help shut down the last remaining abortion facility in the state.
“The protesters say they’re opposed to abortion because they’re Christian,” Parker told Esquire last year in an article entitled “The Abortion Ministry of Dr. Willie Parker.” “It’s hard for them to accept that I do abortions because I’m a Christian.”
Mark Crutcher of Life Dynamics in Denton, Texas recently disputed Parker’s claim that he is a Christian.
“A Christian cannot be pro-choice about the intentional destruction of an innocent human life any more than they can be pro-choice about rape or robbery or slavery or incest child abuse etc,” he stated. “Christian doctrine clearly asserts that God is the author of life and that He is incapable of making mistakes. From these foundational beliefs, the only logical conclusion one can draw, is that when life exists in the womb it is God’s will that it be there.”
Crutcher said that those who claim to be both Christian and pro-abortion are essentially making three assertions.
“First is that life is not a right inherited from God, but a privilege bestowed by human beings who can withhold it if they choose to do so. Second is that God is neutral on whether a child He created [should be] brutally torn limb from limb. And finally, they are saying that it is possible to reject the innocent new lives that God creates without rejecting God himself,” he explained. “From a Christian perspective, all three of these are absurd.”