Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice

Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice, by Dr. Willie Parker. Published in April, 2017. 224 pages.

I used to have a master list of books I want to read, complete with a timetable for when and how I am going to read them. It never works out however, because I visit the library at least every other week, and every turn past the “featured titles” shelf has me leaving with some title which has piqued my curiosity and gotten me off the planned reading list schedule. This was one of those books.

I don’t even know how to review it because although I find the philosophy, theology, worldview, and conclusions utterly wrong headed at best (repulsive at worst), Dr. Parker is a decent writer who wove together a good story and kept my attention throughout this book. None of that however, diminishes the problems with his logic and processing of the Christian faith.

A black doctor who grew up poor in segregated Alabama, Dr. Parker was a fervent and passionate Christian from his teenage years onward, and still confesses Christ today. He held to Christian principles in practice even after becoming an OB/GYN physician, refusing to provide abortion services even as his compassion deepened for the women seeking abortions who came to the office he worked.

Because his theological and moral defense of abortion is hardly original, I’ll lay it out for you here as well a directing you to an interview Dr. Parker gave to Rolling Stone laying out his case. No need to add to the sales that the pro-abortion/feminist lobby will give to this book. It basically comes down to this:

He has a duty to extend Christian compassion to the women who come to him for abortion services by helping them end their unwanted pregnancies safely, and with little pain and complication as possible. They have as much right as any one else to fulfill their god-given potential and fulfill their dreams without having their lives thrown off track because of one mistake and a legal and societal culture who would judge them for it. Giving them their freedom and acknowledging their bodily autonomy is, in his opinion, the right thing to do.

Of course, as always happens when liberals want to justify the unjustifiable, Dr. Parker repeatedly cites parallels between the freedoms of the women seeking abortions in 2017, and the freedom of the former slaves and black Americans who suffered all manner of indignities in the South.

The first commandment of liberal theology: Every person who wants to do something immoral or unnatural and encounters opposition or delay is experiencing oppression equivalent to the descendants of the transatlantic slave trade. The second commandment is like unto it: True Christian love is demonstrated by a willingness to see to it that everyone has or is able to do what they need to feel accepted and good about themselves.

Like I said, despite Parker’s unassailable way with words and compelling story telling there is nothing new to see here. Gloria Steinem’s rave review does nothing to change that. I did learn more about the medical intricacies of abortion than I ever wanted to know, complete with mental imagery I won’t soon forget. I learned a lot about the legalities of the debate as well.

The most compelling parts of the book were Dr. Parker’s retelling of his life story, family history, and educational development.

 B+ for writing, D for philosophical content.

Final grade: C

Content advisory: In depth details on the procedures, nature, and aftermath of abortion in one chapter.

6 thoughts on “Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice

  1. The Practical Conservative says:

    This is completely incompatible with the “industrious single motherhood” narrative. It’s also incompatible with 20th century progressive eugenic ideals. Their argument ironically would be that you don’t want women who have “high potential” failing to reproduce themselves. This was a big part of their (intellectual) descendants’ drive to support single motherhood among educated women when it started happening in noticeable numbers in the 1960s.


  2. Elspeth says:

    Many of the women’s stories he told were women who were in college, or who were on athletic scholarships, one was heading for Olympic trials, etc. Many were minorities as well. A pregnancy would derail them and stop them from achieving their dreams.

    At the other end of the spectrum were the poor single mothers who couldn’t afford another baby, etc. For whom ease of abortion access is critical. Parker, even during his most lucrative time in Hawaii, mostly worked with women on the edge or lower socioeconomic women.

    It’s interesting his take because I know a few women who have had a couple of kids, and a couple of abortions in between. Abortion has done very little to reduce single motherhood among the poor, although it has certainly decreased the numbers of children single mothers are burdened with.


  3. The Practical Conservative says:

    This is I suppose the fallout from progressives being successful at making it a lot easier for such women to be OOW mothers and neurosurgeons (first black female one was a single mother). I grew up seeing a lot of that kind of thing passed around, that single motherhood wouldn’t make it impossible. That said, I still didn’t do it, but I also was media-influenced enough to think it was not going to break career aspirations.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. hearthie says:

    -just sending you hugs and love-

    Okay. I kept one of the mandatory books in regards to abortion from my WMST days, primarily because what they considered “pro abort” reasons I considered prime examples of selfishness. I thought it made a better argument against than for. So, I hear you. And I’m sorry you had to read it.

    -more love, and a batch of chocolate brownies-

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bike bubba says:

    What Hearthie says. The woman gets the fun of fornication, the baby gets ripped apart? And then she’s free to do what she wants to do, which is….rinse and repeat, I’d guess. Roe v. Wade hardly registers as a blip in the overall numbers and percentage of illegitimate births. See the below.

    Click to access nvs48_16.pdf

    Note as well that there appears to be something of a “corner” that the nation passed around 1950–right when marriage rates started to drop for all races. So the data do not look good at all for the doctor’s hypothesis, to put it mildly.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Elspeth says:

    To be sure he was far more concerned with “Christian” compassion, not judging, and not treating women’s bodies as property they have no control over (cue the slavery red herring here) as his central arguments.

    But yeah. The data does not bear up the pro-choice assertion that abortion access reduces the numbers of unplanned children nor bolsters the economic and career goals of most women who have one.


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.