Willie Parker and the Moral Higher Ground

Willie Parker and the Moral Higher Ground

WILLIE PARKER wrote a BOOK! Dr. Willie Parker, compassionate abortion provider, SAINT, and ALL-AROUND HERO is a great friend to LPJL–and to any and every woman who needs an abortion, contraceptive services, or a fierce defender of their rights… in other words, EVERY WOMAN.

LPJL has stood with Dr. Willie at his clinics in Alabama and Mississippi, and he never fails to stop in and raise our spirits when he’s in our neck of the woods. He’s a friend to all of us. And now, he’s a published friend. His new book, Life’s Work, subtitled A Moral Argument for Choice is available from Simon & Schuster.

In Life’s Work, the good doctor describes his own epiphany (he calls it his “conversion”) regarding morality, compassion, and abortion–“how he came to believe, unequivocally, that helping women in need, without judgment, is precisely the Christian thing to do.”

As a fundamentalist Christian and a practicing OB-GYN who never performed an abortion, Willie had a transformational moment while reading a sermon about the Good Samaritan by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He realized that showing compassion for women who needed his help was the very essence of Christianity.

As he put in his own op-ed for the New York Times Why I Provide Abortions, “the Samaritan reversed the question of concern, to care more about the well-being of the person needing help than about what might happen to him for stopping to give help. I realized that if I were to show compassion, I would have to act on behalf of those women.”

Beyond that, Willie’s book exposes the lie behind the assumption that anti-abortion forces in any way occupy some sort of moral high ground in the fight over abortion. A belief in choice is compatible with any sincere religious belief–including Christianity. In fact, a compassionate approach to religious belief demands that it includes exactly the kind of concern that Dr. Parker shows for his patients.  

Anti-choice advocates and woman-haters love to appropriate liberal icons like MLK and twist their words around to support their own repressive beliefs. It’s truly a blessing to have someone with insight and courage of Dr. Willie Parker to reclaim the teachings of Dr. King and show the moral imperative behind the fight for abortion rights.

Join with LPJL and Dr. Willie Parker in teaching the anti-choice forces that they can’t simultaneously occupy other women’s uteruses AND the moral high ground. Oh, and show a friend of women how much you appreciate him and BUY THE BOOK!

A Quick Man-to Man: Stay out of her Uterus, Bro.

I’m writing this as a cis man, though not just any cis man (even though it should be every man). A cis man that errs on the side of decency; that does not see, nor relish in playing “Monopoly” with a woman’s health – where her only landing points are pregnancy, jail or death.

Frankly, I am writing this as a cis man who supports a person’s right to choose to have an abortion.

See how simple of a thing that is? Abortion is important. It’s medically necessary. But most important, IT’S NONE OF OUR FUCKING BUSINESS.

If you’ve been busy with personal issues, sick-and-shut-in, or simply tuning out all of the political tomfoolery unfolding in front of our eyes on a daily basis, there’s an issue that you need to make yourself very aware of in America. And that is the fact that, there is a war on women and people who need reproductive healthcare that has existed basically forever.

We’ve got President-Elect “Great Orange Pumpkin” being pro-choice one day, and the next day anti-choice. And now, a recent Slate article asks the question: “Is Roe v. Wade Really Doomed By Donald Trump?

Wait, what?

That question is exactly the problem, and a rather fine example of how complacency is also to blame for the outcome of this recent election.

Look, I get it. Trump is an ignorant hot mess, and has been proven to contradict himself more than a klan member, watching BET.

But we can’t “throw caution to the wind” when it comes to a very constitutionally-sound and life-saving procedure. Asking “but do ya think he’s actually gonna do it?” is dismissive, and we cannot afford being all “calm down, ladies” about it.

Nah. They’ve been calm. Quite frankly, they’ve “been calm” for too long, when you consider the shitty hand women have been dealt, as it relates to letting them decide what is best for their bodies and families.

Men, you HAVE TO educate yourself on the anti-abortion monsters in YOUR STATE, working their way into all women’s’ uteruses. If you think you don’t have any, believe me, you do. They are everywhere. Like roaches. Just uglier.

Oh and, for all of you “yeah man, that could be my “mom/sister/brother/cousin/grandma/aunt/favorite stripper/ etc etc etc etc etc” – STOP IT. Reproductive health (just like any other issue) should never be one that we shrug off, if it doesn’t affect us or someone we know.

And lastly, because this might be the boldest point I will make in this post –

When a cis gay man has to tell cis men-at-large: “HEY, SOMEONE PROTECT THE VAGINAS!!!” that’s how you know it’s serious.

It Ain’t Brain Surgery

As part of our Play of the Day series Lady Parts Justice League will explore the key players Donald Trump has chosen to surround himself with: his advisors and the people being appointed to his cabinet, all of whom have a deep of history of being strongly anti-choice. The building of Sauron’s Army.

Ben Carson – Position in Sauron’s Army: Barrow-wight.

Ben Carson — the man Donald Trump has tapped to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development — has an assisted autobiography about him called Gifted Hands (and a movie of the same name described as “a treacly, plodding affair”). It’s called Gifted Hands because Carson is evidently a good surgeon. It’s not called Gifted Analytical Policy Mind or Guy Who Knows Anything or Cares At All About Urban Development because neither of those remotely describe Ben Carson.

The only place you could find someone less qualified to head our nation’s housing agency would be Donald Trump’s rolodex of recklessness. So why has Trump named this particular bumbler for this specific job? Several reasons including loyalty, cronyism, and the same reason your cat chases yarn. But mostly it’s because Carson reflects the core values of the trogs and trolls who comprise Trump’s base. And one of the most important of those is a nasty streak of anti-choice, anti-woman extremism.

The reasons Carson is on Team Trump (after Trump described him during the campaign as being like “a child molester” and “a sick puppy”) is clear when you read how the anti-abortion nutz-4-nutz site LifeNews describes his appointment: “President-elect Donald Trump has named another pro-life advocate to his Cabinet today, this time choosing pro-life physician Ben Carson…” They go on to use the term “pro-life” more than Donald Trump says “Amazing,” “Fantastic” and “Bigly” combined.  

Ben Carson is under no illusions about how crappy he will be at this job (and this is a man who is under A LOT of illusions— see his theories about the pyramids). When his name was floated for Health and Human Services (for which he is at least theoretically qualified) he said “Having me as a federal bureaucrat would be like a fish out of water, quite frankly.” His spokesman Armstrong Williams added “Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience, he’s never run a federal agency. The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency.” (That doesn’t include taking the position of PRESIDENT, evidently, but you get the point.) Well now they seem to think that Carson is more likely to merely cripple the Department of Housing and Urban Development. So they’re going to strap him in the driver’s seat and put a brick on the accelerator.

Trump’s Cabinet is nothing but a Whitman’s sampler of assorted nuts meant to appeal to the mouth-breathers that support Trump. And Item #1 on the Trumpian checklist of necessary attributes is an unhealthy opposition to abortion rights. And that is THE ONLY qualification that Ben Carson has.

Black Women Are Beautiful

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It’s a thing that shouldn’t have to be said, but it’s an affirmation that we need.

 

For centuries, black women have been ridiculed for having physical features that don’t resemble those of European women. We’ve been depicted as strange or undesirable in art and literature, and plenty of similar depictions persist in popular culture today.

 

It’s hard to be a little black girl full of self love when growing up in a society that doesn’t value you. Marginalization fosters insecurity and self doubt, and it takes work to reject the negative messaging that black girls and women receive about themselves from society at large.

 

That’s why black women like Nina Simone and Audre Lorde were so important. They insisted on loving themselves when society tried to tell them they shouldn’t. That’s why black women like Gabourey Sidibe and Serena Williams matter so much. They reject the notion that they look wrong and fervently believe that they are right. Those women want me to believe that I am beautiful too. And I do.

 

I am black and I am beautiful.

She Shoots, She Scores! Black Women & Their Place in Athletics

As a black man, there is no greater time than Black History Month. As a black man who identifies as feminist, the importance of Black History Month (for me) is even more heightened, especially when it comes to specific aspects of our culture.

One thing I value significantly is the mental and somatic fortitude of the black woman. The more I’ve been able to explore who I am in my own sexuality and observe the very visceral ways that “strength” is to be exhibited by gender, the more I’m able to celebrate the many distinct ways that black women persevere.

Twenty years ago, as a young black boy, people like me were almost forced to revere the likes of Michael Jordan, Deion Sanders and Tiger Woods (in all his womanizing glory). However, what made me different from what I observed in the behavior of a lot of my male peers was the overlooking of those athletes’ numerous female counterparts. These women deserved every bit of the same recognition for their achievements.

When we had Michael Jordan, we also had Sheryl Swoopes. When Jesse Owens reigned, we also had Florence Griffith Joyner to look up to. When Arthur Ashe dominated in tennis, we were gifted with not one but TWO Williams sisters! The list can (and does) go on and on.

For a long time in the black community, we were taught that only men could be the warriors of sport. That was the rule: “Boy, go out there and play football like a man!” while in the same breath, “Girl, get in the house and help me with these groceries!” Little black girls become conditioned to believe that their femininity is at risk the very second they engage in any physical sport.

It is only through the feminist movement that, I believe, we’ve been able to move away from these ideas so that we more recently see a rise in black women competitors. So here’s to Black History Month, Feminism, and the athletes of all genders who inspire us! GO TEAM!

Representation Matters. For all of us.

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Black History Month is my favorite time of the year. Seriously. A nerdy lust for knowledge that is accented by my love for, and comfort in my Blackness makes Black History Month my Christmas! Learning about important & influential people that years of book learnin’ in school may have neglected is exciting. “Representation matters” has become a popular phrase lately–because it’s true. It’s not only nice to see faces that look like you, your relatives, your neighbors– it’s important. It might seem cliche, but children AND adults need to see that they can be anything, that they can move and excel in any given space or field.

When I was a little girl I’d twirl all over my house, dreaming of being a prima ballerina. Little girls today can now look up to Misty Copeland.

I also wanted to be a doctor. There are so many black female doctors on television, both fictional and actual. Various characters on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, the actual doctors on Married to Medicine, and everyone’s favorite tiny cartoon doctor, Doc McStuffins.

I’m personally terrified by the idea of space travel, but I remember seeing Mae C. Jemison’s face on the bulletin boards of my elementary school during Black History Month. I always thought she was super brave for being an astronaut. The first black female astronaut. Now she’s been joined by Joan Higginbotham, Yvonne Cagle, Jeanette J. Epps, Stephanie Wilson. The idea of black women in space isn’t just relegated to Star Trek anymore. Props to Lt. Uhura, though–flawlessly played by the beautiful Nichelle Nichols.

Today, I work in entertainment. I write, perform, and produce. There are so many AMAZING black women slaying the entertainment industry today for me to look up to as an adult. I find myself crying while watching them win Emmys, Golden Globes, and (the rare) Oscars. Viola Davis, Uzo Aduba, Taraji P. Henson, Regina King, Kerry Washington, and Gabrielle Union are ALL leading ladies on television. Gorgeous, talented black women who are playing amazingly varied roles. That’s a huge jump from the black female actresses like Hattie McDaniel, the first black Oscar Winner. She was a skilled actress who unfortunately didn’t have a wide variety of roles to choose from. She played 74 different maid roles over the course of her career.

The woman who is currently showing me that I can take over the world is Shonda Rhimes. She OWNS Thursday nights. A black woman wrote/created/produced some of the most highly viewed shows on network television. That is beyond impressive.

The black women of today are creating black history everyday. I can’t wait to join their ranks.

Lady Parts Justice League is celebrating Black History Month!

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Every weekday this month, we’ll be releasing a gorgeous commemorative card featuring amazing Black feminists and womanists with one of their brilliant quotes. We didn’t just pull these women out of a hat. Each of these women was chosen by Lady Parts Justice Leaguers who are personally inspired by them. The list includes poets, authors, activists, journalists, politicians, and innovators from all walks of life.

The list is amazing and varied, from an 11-year-old activist who feeds orphans in Ghana, to turn of the century heroes like Ida B Wells.  

We hope you enjoy and share these beautiful women and their stories, to celebrate their work and introduce friends to some great women they may not be familiar with.
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