On March 1st the Gender Studies program of Mississippi State University invited abortion doctor Willie Parker to speak to a crowd of over 200 college students. His lecture was entitled “Abortion and the Christian Case for Choice”. In the lecture Parker often mentioned how his view was “a Christian perspective” not “the Christian perspective”. The University received a lot of backlash from alumni donators and various Christian groups. The event even reached the ears of Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant. In a surprising turn of events, the university agreed to work with the campus Students For Life group and paid to bring in pro-life speaker Christina Bennett the following week. This effort to present a balanced perspective of the issue is quite rare for colleges.
In attendance outside the event were protestors from several groups. There were members of Pro-Life Mississippi who held signs with messages like “love saves lives”, as well as members of the Oklahoma-based extremist group, Abolish Human Abortion (AHA). Members of AHA held graphic signs depicting the bodies of aborted babies. Most Pro-Life groups have distanced themselves from AHA because of their attacks on Catholics and people who favor incremental Pro-Life legislation over immediate abolition of abortion. The MSU Pro-Life group, MSU Students For Life does not do any type of protesting. Instead they focus on helping pregnant and parenting students on campus as well as educating students about the issue of abortion from a scientific and human rights perspective.
Within a few minutes of Dr. Parker’s lecture, a member of AHA stood up and started yelling at him. He proclaimed God’s wrath upon Dr. Parker in addition to telling him that he was going to hell. The heckler was promptly removed from the auditorium. This prompted Dr. Parker to reference the young man repeatedly throughout his talk as an example of religious people who disagreed with him.
At the beginning of his talk, Parker was quick to state that his perspective was a Christian perspective not the Christian perspective. “I cannot make the Christian argument for abortion, but I’m quite willing to make for you the case and the argument for abortion as a Christian.” He went on to say, “even if I could make the Christian case for abortion, the question is: what relevance would it be to someone who is Muslim or Hindu, or Atheist, or Wiccan, or any other religious or non religious position that they are entitled to hold?”
That is a very good point. Any perspective on abortion, whether in opposition or in favor of it from one religious view would have no relevance to people of other faiths or lack thereof. When I first got involved with the Pro-Life movement I knew next to nothing about the issue. I knew that the Bible said it was wrong to kill and that children were a gift from God, and I knew that it was quite obvious that there was a new human being present before being born. I was once confronted by someone who said they didn’t believe in the Bible and demanded that I tell them what science said about abortion and when life began. I was at a loss for words. I didn’t know what science said. It was then that I realized that if I were to continue talking about the issue of abortion, I would need to know about all aspects of it, especially science. Science is something most people, regardless of religion or politics, value and take as truth, so I knew that I needed to find out what science said about the issue. To my surprise, the science of embryology is quite clear on when life begins.
During his talk, Dr. Parker said, “as a Christian and as a scientist I think I can authoritatively attest to the fact that life does not begin at conception on this basis. It takes a live sperm and a live egg to make a live conception. So it can’t be that life begins at conception because a live sperm and a live egg are there before conception.” He went on to claim that, “the notion that the union of the sperm and the egg constitutes a new person at that moment reflects a popular religious belief but it is not a scientific one.”
It was with that comment that the Luke Skywalker quote from The Last Jedi popped into my mind, “amazing…every word of what you’ve just said is wrong.”
After having spent over four years studying embryology I have not come across a single medical or scientific source that even comes close to confirming what Parker claimed. Additionally, contrary to what he said, the question of when life begins isn’t a religious or political issue, it is an issue of science. Plain and simple. Leading embryology text books that are used in med school confirm the claim that life begins at conception.
Moore and Persaud’s The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology states that “Human development begins at fertilization when a male gamete or sperm unites with a female gamete or oocyte to form a single cell – a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.”
Sadler’s Langman’s Embryology tells us that “The development of a human begins with fertilization, a process by which the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female unite to give the rise to a new organism, the zygote.”
In HumanEmbryology and Teratology O’Rahilly and Müller claim that, “Although life is a continuous process, fertilization (which, incidentally, is not a ‘moment’) is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new genetically distinct human organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte.”
World-renowned Geneticist, Dr. Jerome LeJeune stated, “After fertilization has taken place a new human being has come into being. [It] is no longer a matter of taste or opinion…it is plain experimental evidence. Each individual has a very neat beginning, at conception.”
Dr. Watson A. Bowles from the University of Colorado Medical Center said, “the beginning of a single human life is from a biological point of view a simple and straightforward matter – the beginning is conception.”
In an online debate, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, Dr. Robert George, said, “Human embryos are not creatures different in kind from human beings (like rocks, or potatoes, or alligators). They are, rather, human beings – distinct living members of the species Homo Sapiens – at the earliest stage of their natural development. They differ from human beings at later developmental stages not in virtue of the kind of entity they are, but rather by degree of development”
We see from these expert testimonies, science is quite clear on the matter of when life begins. Life begins at conception. As LeJeune pointed out, it is not a matter of taste or opinion, it is plain experimental evidence.
Willie Parker is not a stupid or ignorant man by any means. He has been to medical school, he performs at least a thousand abortions each year, and has done over 10,000 in his career. I’ve met former abortionists and Planned Parenthood directors, I’ve seen abortions performed via ultrasound, I’ve read graphic descriptions from abortionists of what they do during the procedures and there is no way at all for someone to take the lives of over 10,000 innocent human beings and not see that it is a human being. Dr. Beverly McMillan, the first abortionist in the state of Mississippi said the reason she stopped doing abortions and became Pro-Life was because “I finally got to the point where I couldn’t look at those little bodies anymore.” Dr. Parker knows better than anyone that he is taking the lives of innocent human beings. He knows from medical classes that once a father’s sperm and a mother’s egg unite that both cease to exist and a unique living and whole human being that has never existed before comes into existence. He has personally ripped the arms and legs from the bodies of defenseless and innocent human children. Despite what he says, he knows that a human being doesn’t suddenly and magically appear at the moment of birth.
Why then does he make claims that he knows are false? It’s simple: money. Money can make a man do many things. As long as he keeps getting paid the big bucks from all the clinics that he flies out to, it does not matter to him what he is doing. He is so consumed in his self-image and his money that he is willing to disregard what he learned in medical school. History has shown us many examples of people who convince themselves that certain people aren’t human in order to have political or monetary gain. The Nazis did this to the Jews and slave owners did that to slaves. Both the Nazis and slave owners knew that the ones they were oppressing were human, but they convinced themselves otherwise.
Dr. Parker was formerly a medical director at Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. Planned Parenthood is an extremely lucrative business that receives over $1 million of US taxpayer dollars every single day. Although they are unethical and have gotten caught lying to patients and congress multiple times. They are also really good at marketing. They specialize in taking advantage of women in difficult situations and coercing them to get abortions. They also make sure they get repeat customers. They encourage promiscuity among young people and tell them that they are there for them if they need birth control or STD testing. Years later, they give out low quality birth control and condoms to the same people, telling them that they will be there for them if it doesn’t work. The low-quality methods and devices increase the likelihood that the people get pregnant, thus bringing them back to Planned Parenthood to get abortions, which is their biggest money maker. As I said, it is a brilliant marketing strategy as long as you don’t mind being deceptive and unethical to get more money. All of that to say, this is the type of company that Parker keeps. If he is surrounded by those people, it is no wonder he acts and lies the way he does. As I said, he is not a stupid man. He is a very smart, wealthy, unethical, and violent man.
In a “progressive” country such as ours, people are entitled to their own opinions on religion and politics, but nobody has the right to their own facts. When it comes to medical issues of life and death, we should base things on evidence and science, not merely our belief or opinion.
Science tells us that life begins at conception and thus a pregnant woman carries a living human being with separate and unique DNA in her womb. Science also tells us that abortion ends a pregnancy. Therefore, abortion ends the life of a human being.
After that has been established, one must then look to morality, which is usually rooted in religion. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all teach that life is sacred and that it is morally wrong to take the life of an innocent human being. If someone believes that it is morally wrong to take the life of an innocent human being, it logically follows that abortion is morally wrong. That is why many religious people are against abortion.
Even though the abortion debate touches areas of religion and politics, the main issues are actually rooted in established medical science.
If people of different faiths believe that it is wrong to take an innocent human life, should they speak up about the issue of abortion? Absolutely! But protesting by angrily yelling and holding picket signs rarely changes minds and doesn’t portray an attitude of love or compassion. The energy and passion of religious people would be better directed at helping women facing unplanned pregnancies. Donate or volunteer at a local Pregnancy Care Center. There are over 2,000 Pregnancy Care Centers across the US that provide free services, counseling, financial aid, parenting classes, and much more to women facing unplanned pregnancies, as well as helping women after the child is born.
Although the issue is based on science and not religion, if religious people are going to address the issue of abortion, they should do so with love, compassion, and science, not anger and hate.