For many Americans, it's impossible to separate the many parts of the abortion debate -- religion, health, women's rights, politics -- from the medical act itself. That's understandable.

That said, Esquire magazine has published a lengthy and revealing profile of Dr. Willie Parker, the only doctor who performs abortions at Mississippi's only remaining abortion clinic. Parker does not live in Mississippi -- he lives in Chicago and flies south twice a month -- and spent time in Birmingham as a youth.

Esquire's profile is sure to rankle those who oppose abortion. That's understandable, too. But it's nonetheless fascinating to learn how Mississippi's only abortion clinic operates amid a political effort to totally close that state to abortion.

-- Phillip Tutor