by Michelle Truong, International Women’s Health Coalition
August 6, 2018

Dr. Willie Parker is an abortion provider because of, not despite, his Christian faith. At a moment when refusal of care due to conscience claims obstructs reproductive justice, emphasizing the role conscience plays in compassionate and ethical medical care, as Dr. Parker does, means a revolutionary shift in thinking about power—prioritizing the needs of the woman seeking care.

The use of conscience claims to deny health care services is a focal point in current debates on abortion access and was a central issue at the recent Abortion and Reproductive Justice Conference (ARJC) in South Africa. In an auspicious start to the ARJC, the host-city, formerly known as Grahamstown, had recently voted to discard the name of Graham, a brutal colonizer, to rename in honor of Makhanda, a Xhosa freedom fighter and philosopher.

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