To this day, close to 40 years later, Dr. Parker is as sure of that experience as ever. “Something happened to me. Something happened in
me. It was revolutionary and life-changing. What I’m sure happened to me is that it awakened a sense of love and compassion and responsibility for other people. That’s as real to me now as it was then,” he tells me over the phone. He’s driving the 102 miles between Birmingham and Huntsville, Alabama, to provide abortions at a women’s clinic there. This is one of his many trips across the Bible Belt state, which has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country: In addition to state-mandated counseling, mandatory ultrasound, and a 48-hour waiting period, Alabama has an unconstitutional 20-week ban on the books. Most recently a federal judge had to block a law
that made it illegal for abortion clinics to operate within 2,000 feet of a school. The law was designed to shut down the West Alabama Women’s Clinic, where Dr. Parker is medical director and which is one of five clinics total in the entire state.