“Patriarchy and racism means I’m less likely to be thought the doctor, so that allows me to hide in the open.”

 

COPENHAGEN — In 2014, black abortion provider Dr. Willie Parker was talking to a white reporter from New York City at the “Pink House” — the last remaining abortion clinic in Mississippi — when the reporter asked Parker if he ever feared for his safety. As Parker and the reporter, John Richardson for Esquire, prepared to exit the Jackson clinic through the throng of protesters screaming outside, the doctor half-seriously warned Richardson that he was the one who should be afraid: People looking at the two of them would assume the white man is the doctor, he said. 

“I told him, because he had never been to the South before, ‘When we walk out this door, just so you know, if they’re gonna shoot somebody, it’s probably going to be you and not me,’” Parker, 54, told The Huffington Post in an interview at a global women’s health conference in Copenhagen.

“He found a chuckle in that, but he really began to think about what it meant that people who are extreme on this issue also have issues around race and class,” he said. 

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