"Going to Mississippi: If I Don't, Who Will? The Pursuit of Reproductive Justice" - Willie J. Parker, M.D., M.P.H,. M.Sc.
Department:WWS Office of Public Affairs and Communications
Audience:Open to the Public
Willie Parker, OB/GYN, reproductive justice advocate, serving the last remaining abortion clinic in Miss., will speak at the Woodrow Wilson School at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 18, in Dodds Auditorium, Robertson Hall.
Parker, M.D., M.P.H., M.Sc., is one of only two doctors performing abortions at the last remaining abortion clinic in the state. He travels from out of state to do so. Located in Jackson, Mississippi, the clinic, known as the Pink House because of its intentionally attention-drawing color, is operated by the Jackson Women’s Health Organization (JWHO). The organization has served women and families in Mississippi for 17 years and has been the sole reproductive health care provider offering abortions in the state since 2002.
In April 2012, the Mississippi State Legislature passed a bill requiring any physician performing abortions in the state to be a board certified or be an eligible obstetrician-gynecologist with admitting privileges at an area hospital.
While all doctors at JWHO who perform abortions are board-certified OB/GYNs, the vast majority of physicians who applied for these privileges were denied. Several hospitals refused to even process the physicians’ applications, citing hospital policies on abortion care as the reason for the denial.
Dr. Parker has been a vociferous opponent to the legislation and has argued, along with the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of the JWHO that the law usurps women’s rights and is unconstitutional.
Having served as the medical director of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington DC, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii, and a fellowship in family planning at the University of Michigan, he now holds a faculty position at Northwestern Medical School.
In 2013, Dr. Parker was recognized for his work and received the George Tiller, M.D. Abortion Provider Award (named after the abortion doctor who was assassinated in 2009) for his leadership and courage.