Last week, I had the opportunity to speak with author and founder of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE), Star Parker, about her anti-abortion advocacy and the way in which she analogizes abortion to slavery.
Parker, a prolific writer and tireless advocate for the preborn, not only spoke about abortion in the abstract, but about her very personal and painful experiences with the issue.
DW: How did you first get into anti-abortion advocacy?
PARKER: Well, I first got into anti-abortion advocacy because I was born again, and after receiving Christ, I started reconciling the abortions in my own life. I had lived a very aggressive and promiscuous life – from criminal activity and drug activity to sexual activity – that abortion became my birth control.
So, after the fourth time I went into one of their so-called safe, legal, rare clinics, I determined that I wouldn’t have another abortion, but I hadn’t changed my pattern since I was pregnant again within a very short period of time, and ended up having that child and going on welfare.
That’s where I was living, and when I had a Christian conversion, it just changed my life. I went to college; I got a degree; I quit welfare; I started a business; but then information about abortion and the reality inside the womb started coming across my desk, and at that time the pro-life community was very active in Operation Rescue, so I then had to confront the abortions in my own life by talking to God about it and seeing if there was anything I could do to stop someone else from having to reach that moment. That’s when I knew I had to start being more outspoken about something so tragic.
DW: What is your position on incrementalism in the law? If there were a 20-week abortion ban that was set to be voted on by the House and Senate, and it looked poised to pass, would you support that?
PARKER: I want all means and any means necessary. I’m one that believes that abortion is a crime against humanity – we should not be doing it. So, I want to stop them all. I want it illegal and unthinkable. But I’m also one that knows the history of slavery, that this too was a crime against humanity, and we needed to get to the place where it was unthinkable and was illegal in our country, but we needed to do something about the reality, and I don’t think at that point in history I would have wanted to wait for all-or-nothing, but to end it in any way you could.
In fact, our history is full of examples of others believing that as well, because they were passing laws continuously after the founding of our country to rid the nation of slavery. So, I feel the same measures are acceptable today – anything and everything we can do to save one is better than saving none until we get to the place where we save all.
DW: Emmett Till’s mother wanted an open casket so that the world could see what was done to him, and that sparked a massive moment in the civil rights era. The photo of “Whipped Peter” was widely circulated during the slave era and it forced people to confront their perceptions of slavery. Do you feel the same way about abortion victim photography in the modern era?
PARKER: I really do. I think that the more information we have, and the more information society has to make clear decisions about whether we should do this as a nation – should we allow for this type of activity to be legal? The more you know, the better off you are, and so yes, I absolutely agree with pictures to show people what abortion looks like. Would I show it to a vulnerable young woman who’s caught up in the confusion of the culture? Maybe not. But would I show them to legislators and others that keep pushing this idea on the rest of society? Absolutely.
Even a doctor shows you pictures to tell you, “This is what you have, and this is what I need to do to make sure you don’t have it anymore,” and sometimes they are ugly. To see the scars around your cancer or a broken tooth, and the doctor or dentist has to show you this reality before you then say, “Yes, I’m going to pay you to fix that.” So in terms of imagery, this is very, very important to the discussions that we are having about abortion in our country, and mostly because of what we know today scientifically, medically, morally, mentally.
In 1973, we didn’t know what we know today; we could not see into the womb. I suppose you could say we inherently new, but now we have evidence that this is a distinct and unique individual humanity, and so the question then becomes, “Should we kill it?” “Should we allow for people to kill what we know is a unique and distinct human being?”
DW: So what is your position on rape and incest exceptions? Pro-abortion activists like to argue on the fringes, which is where they typically bring this up.
PARKER: I think these are the questions that actually should drive us to be even more adamant to end abortion in our society. We have crime being committed and covered up because of abortion. We have rape crimes being covered up because of abortion, and it then sparks a whole #MeToo movement years later simply because we have no accountability when these crimes are occurring because abortion is legal in our society. The same goes with incest. We need to know as a society, to get vulnerable young women out of those situations and get them the help they need. It does not help for them to compound a rape with the killing of their offspring that is uniquely made and independently made. The miracle and awe of pregnancy is what’s getting lost in much of this discussion.
DW: You often analogize abortion to slavery. Can you expand on that a little bit?
PARKER: When we read the Dredd Scott decision and we read the Roe v. Wade decision, and you take the titles off of both of them, you’d be hard-pressed to figure out which one is which because they read almost verbatim.
Both of the discussions are about life, liberty, and property, and this is something that we as a society have determined we want to protect. That’s what makes America unique in the world – we protect life; we protect liberty; we protect property – and abortion, like slavery, is a violation of all three. The very life, the very liberty, and the very what we might call property, is in the hands of somebody else.
In both cases, we’re seeing life at the hands of someone else determining whether you have the right to live or die. We see liberty, someone else determining whether you should be allowed as a unique and distinct human being, to make choices for yourself and for others that are related to you. We see it in property where ownership is important.
When we talk about the difference between freedom and slavery, it’s the ability to determine your own destiny, your own time, and what you do with it, and so both of them are so very similar, and I think that we’re facing this exact same question in our history that we were in the 1850s when Abraham Lincoln had to talk to the country about who we want to be. We can’t be both.
I would like to thank Star Parker for speaking with me about this incredibly important issue. You can check out my previous interview with Parker in which she denounces the notion of reparations here.
For more information, follow Parker on Twitter, and check out the following video in which she testifies before lawmakers on the topic of abortion: