Dr. Willie J. Parker, a prominent doctor famous for providing abortions in conservative regions of the South, has predicted that President Donald Trump will effectively end access to the procedure as a federal right.
On April 27, Parker warned abortion-rights activists that the Trump administration and the GOP-majority Congress would work to overturn or at least undercut the landmark Roe v. Wade decision of 1973.
"[Abortion] was criminal once before, and it is their intent to make it criminal again," Parker told The Independent.
The famous abortion advocate said that Trump would seek to fulfill his campaign pledge to end abortion access as a federal right.
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"So far all the things Trump's promised to do, he's made the effort to do," Parker explained. "He was always pro-choice in the 1990's but he changed his position to sit with the politics of what was going to get him elected."
In November 2016, Trump stated that he would appoint justices to the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) who would overturn Roe v. Wade.
"The judges will be pro-life ... if it ever were overturned, it would go back to the states," Trump told CBS News.
Director Jennifer Dalven of the American Civil Liberties Union's Reproductive Freedom Project does not believe that the president was bluffing. She concluded that if "Trump gets to appoint another Justice, the Court could allow states to ban abortion completely or give politicians the green light to put up roadblock after roadblock in the path of women ... It is very frightening."
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It is that possibility that has excited many of the anti-abortion activists who supported Trump during the presidential race. In their view, the president is so far keeping his word on rooting out access to the procedure.
"He has got the weight of the world on him and yet he is keeping his promises to the pro-life movement," executive director Jim Sedlak of the American Life League told Vice News Canada. "I think after eight years we're going to look back at the Trump presidency and say, 'Thank you, God. You gave us what we needed.'"
Parker predicted that even if Roe v. Wade is overturned by a SCOTUS stacked with justices appointed by Trump, abortion would still be legal in liberal states such as California but would be outlawed in the conservative states, particularly in the South.
"It means a women's health when it comes to her reproduction, would depend on her zip code and where she lives," Parker said.
A practicing obstetrician-gynecologist, Parker had originally refused to perform abortion procedures in the early years of his career but had an about-face roughly a decade ago.
"I had come to a crisis moment regarding a religious understanding that left me unable to help women when I felt deeply for their situation," Parker told The New York Times. "So I needed to convert from a religious understanding that left me paralyzed to act on my deepest sense of connection to one that empowered me to do what I felt to be the right thing."
The doctor noted that he has faced intensified hostility from anti-abortion activists since Trump was elected, citing that he has received more verbal death threats than before. He has also encountered more racially-charged insults, recalling that he has been called a "filthy negro abortionist."
"It is getting a little riskier to do the work we do," Parker said. "The protesters are a bit more aggressive, they harass the women and they harass the providers."
The doctor believes that his work affords women the ability to control their destiny, concluding that if "you don't control your reproduction, you don't control anything else about your life."