The Atlantic

A Doctor's Plan to End Patriarchy

Advocating for access to safe abortions, Willie Parker decided to attack the root of the problem.
Source: Brynn Anderson / AP

Willie Parker became a Christian at age 15. Well into his career as an obstetrician-gynecologist, he refused, on religious grounds, to perform abortions.

Over the years, he saw more and more patients who were victims of sexual assault and intimate-partner violence. He was forced to confront his idea of what it meant to “be a man.” Parker eventually started performing abortions—largely in the southern United States—and he is now an outspoken advocate for access to safe abortions. In his new book, Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice, Parker traces his anti-abortion-access stance to Biblical literalism and obliviousness to societal power structures. Over decades, as he realized that health equity required dismantling of the patriarchy, he worked to understand

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