Article from The Birmingham News

Anti-abortion rally launches “Pro-Life Freedom Ride”

Invoking the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement, anti-abortion clergy members and their supporters gathered tonight at the BJCC to embark on a “Pro-Life Freedom Ride.”

The group, Priests For Life, plans to hold a prayer vigil Saturday morning at Birmingham’s Planned Parenthood before departing for Atlanta, where they will hold a service at King’s tomb.

King’s niece, Alveda King, is the director of African-American outreach for Priests for Life and was present at tonight’s rally.

“I have no doubt that if they were alive, my uncle Martin and my father A.D. would be with us on these Freedom Rides for the unborn,” she said in a statement issued prior to the rally.

Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, told the audience tonight that they fight for “equal protection for our youngest brothers and sisters.”

The anti-abortion movement, Pavone said, is a natural extension of the civil rights crusade King championed until his death in 1968 as they seek “nonviolence against the unborn.”

Pavone said they reach out to women contemplating abortion or who have had an abortion.

“We are a movement that reaches out to those who are oppressed. Come to us, we will help you,” Pavone said.

“It’s not a matter of freedom of choice. It’s a matter of people who feel they have no freedom and no choice.”

First Pro-Life Freedom Ride Events This Weekend

Birmingham, AL – The nation’s first Pro-Life Freedom Ride for the Unborn launches tomorrow, to start with a rally/concert in Birmingham tonight and conclude with a prayer service at the tomb of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Atlanta Saturday afternoon.

Dr. Alveda King, Director of African American Outreach for Priests for Life, will lead the Freedom Ride along with other civil rights activists, clergy, and the Priests for Life pastoral team. “The pro-life movement is the civil rights movement,” declares Dr. King. “We will ride this summer for the same cause as those who rode almost fifty years ago, that every single human being is worthy of equal protection under the law.”

Tonight’s 7:00 pm event at the Birmingham Jefferson County Convention Complex Theatre will feature speakers, music, and the premiere performance of “The Least of These,” a new pro-life anthem written and performed by Jamie Owens Collins.

Saturday at 9:00 am, Freedom Riders will hold a prayer vigil at the Planned Parenthood abortion center on Birmingham’s 27th Place South before boarding the bus for Atlanta at 11:30 am. At the ride’s conclusion, a prayer will be offered at the tomb of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“This launches a new chapter in the pro-life movement,” adds Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life. “It’s time to cash the check from the vaults of freedom and justice in America on behalf of children in the womb.”

More info at ProLifeFreedomRides.com

The Numbers Speak for Themselves

Recent federal statistics show that 37% of African-American pregnancies end in abortion (compared to 19% of all pregnancies). Yet in national polling that Priests for Life commissioned among African Americans, 41% surveyed believed that Black women obtain fewer abortions than women of other races.

When they were made aware of the actual statistics, most of them said this was reason for concern. And they did not feel their religious leaders were making as much of an issue of this as they should. African Americans are ready to receive the help they need, and to encourage friends and relatives to choose life. When African American women are twice as likely as the average woman to get an abortion, it’s time to stand with them in love and concrete help.

Pro-Abortion Groups Protesting Freedom Rides

Washington, DC – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, announced today that various pro-abortion groups in the Atlanta area are protesting the Freedom Rides, which will arrive in Atlanta on Saturday to pray at the tomb of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“These groups accuse us of lying and distorting historical facts,” Fr. Frank said, “but the Freedom Rides intend to show the nation the truth about abortion. Abortionist Martin Haskell has said under oath, describing the abortion procedure, ‘The skull is brought out in fragments rather than as a unified piece.’ Do these pro-abortion fanatics really expect us to believe that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would want that kind of violence legally protected?”

Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., declared, “I have no doubt that if they were alive, my uncle Martin and my father A.D. would be with us on these Freedom Rides for the unborn.”

The pro-abortion groups have sought to deny the pro-life groups the use of the King Center, and plan to have their own counter-demonstration.

Spread the Word

In time for the pro-life Freedom Rides, Priests for Life has done professional research about the Black community and abortion. We found that Pregnancy Centers were little known, yet widely embraced among Blacks, who were nearly ten times as likely to have a positive view than a negative view of the centers. But they still don’t know about the locations, accessibility, and services of these centers.

It is no surprise that the abortion industry always tries to discredit these centers. They know that for each mother who brings her child to birth, the abortion industry has lost business. Let’s make known the work of pregnancy centers, and get people to them before they go to the abortion clinic.

This Weekend’s Pro-Life Freedom Ride Moved into High Gear

Birmingham, AL – As civil rights and pro-life activists gather for this weekend’s launch of the first Pro-Life Freedom Ride, new survey results show that raised awareness about abortion could have a profound impact among African Americans.

“Friday’s Birmingham rally and Saturday’s Pro-Life Freedom Ride are about spreading the message that an entire group of Americans, the unborn, is being denied the most fundamental civil right, the right to live,” said Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life. “These new poll results confirm that the more people learn about abortion and its impact on lives, families, and communities, the more they reject it.”

In conjunction with the Freedom Rides, Priests for Life is releasing the results of polling and focus group work it recently commissioned among the African-American community. Commenting on the results, The Polling Company/Woman Trend President Kellyanne Conway said, “African Americans are concerned about the scourge of abortion in their community, and respond to related facts and figures.” She continued, “Large majorities agree that every life should have a chance, regardless of race, socioeconomic status or circumstance. They support pregnancy resource centers and call for greater assistance by family, friends and religious and community leaders to help pregnant women and their babies.”

Saturday’s first Pro-Life Freedom Ride, led by Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Director of African American Outreach for Priests for Life, will be preceded Friday night by a concert rally at the Birmingham Jefferson County Convention Complex Theatre starting at 7:00 pm. Details at www.ProLifeFreedomRides.com.

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia.

The Reality Behind the Rhetoric

In April of two thousand and ten, Priests for Life asked The Polling Company to conduct professional research into the attitudes of the African American community about abortion, and into what kind of messaging would be most effective for them. Focus groups were held in major cities and a nationwide poll was also conducted.

One of the things that was done in the focus groups is that pictures of aborted babies were shown to the participants. This had an impact, expressed by these words of one of the participants, “Before I came in to this room today, I was pro-choice. But after seeing those pictures and hearing all that, I think I’ve changed my ideas on abortion.”

Let’s keep in mind the simple truth that the more people see abortion, the more they reject it.

Pro Life Freedom Rides Announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Dr. Alveda King
888-735-3448, ext. 251
Date: July 6, 2010

Atlanta, GA – Dr. Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. and fulltime Director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life, the largest pro-life ministry in the Catholic Church, has announced that on July 24 she will lead the first Pro-life Freedom Ride. The ride will take place from Birmingham, AL to Atlanta, GA.

Details of events to occur in Birmingham on the evening of the 23rd and the morning of the 24th, as well as of the service to take place at Martin Luther King, Jr.’s tomb in Atlanta on the 24th, are on the website www.ProLifeFreedomRides.com.

Pro-life people are welcome to caravan in their own vehicles behind the Freedom Ride bus, which will depart Birmingham midday on the 24th and arrive in Atlanta in the late afternoon.

Just as important as the specific events in Birmingham and Atlanta, however, are the simultaneous activities that pro-life people are urged to carry out in their own communities on that weekend and beyond. Such activities have begun with the Prayer Campaign that was launched on Pentecost Sunday, May 23, and continued until Independence Day, July 4.

“The theme of the pro-life movement is, indeed, freedom,” Dr. King stated. “How can one be free if one is not alive? How can any movement call for equal rights if the most fundamental right, life, is not secured equally? That’s why we are calling people from across the religious, ethnic, and political spectrum to ride with us for freedom for all, including the unborn.”

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, added, “The Freedom Rides call people across America to activities that free people from ignorance about abortion, that free moms and dads from the despair that leads to abortion, that free those who have had abortions from the burden of guilt and shame, that free our nation from unjust laws, and that free our unborn brothers and sisters from the violence of abortion.”

See details at www.ProLifeFreedomRides.com.

Settled Law? Not so Fast…

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan reportedly “considers abortion rights to be settled law” (USA Today, May 21, p. 5A). And we can expect during her confirmation process to hear a number of Senators echo that assertion. Yet America’s courts and legislatures have a proud history of changing “settled law.”

America has, on various occasions, recovered the recognition of the equal dignity of those who were deprived of their rights and suffered violence which was given legal cover under a different name. This legal cover was often mistakenly recognized by the Supreme Court for a while, but then such decisions were overturned.

Dred Scott v. Sandford (1856) is the most commonly cited instance. The slaveholder’s right to property eclipsed and subsumed the slave’s right to freedom. But the Constitution was eventually amended to correct the error.

Decisions like Lochner v. New York (1905) show us another error: employers’ right to contract eclipsed and subsumed the workers’ rights to humane conditions and hours. These abuses were corrected by subsequent Supreme Court decisions like Muller v. Oregon and Bunting v. Oregon.

The “Separate but equal” doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) sanctioning segregation was overturned by Brown v. Board of Education some 58 years later.

Erroneous decisions like Hammer v. Dagenhart (1918) institutionalized child labor. But this was overturned 23 years later by United States v. Darby. A new development — a “pedagogical moment” — occurred here in Constitutional law. The question was whether constitutional rights applied to children too. The answer was yes.

Many reversals of Supreme Court cases came about when new evidence was brought forward that made it clear that someone’s rights, not previously recognized, were being violated. Thus, Louis Brandeis brought forward the facts about how workers were being harmed.

We are now witnessing the same trend regarding the children in the womb. Evidence that has been around for quite some time demonstrating their humanity is finding its way into legislatures and courts. One of the most striking instances comes out of South Dakota.

Federal courts have upheld South Dakota’s law requiring that abortion providers tell women that the procedure destroys a “whole, separate, unique, living human being.” This came about because of the evidence presented to the court regarding the humanity of the unborn child.

With hundreds of embryological sciences, and massive evidence of the harm abortion does to women, such evidence, combined with new legal concepts, can challenge Roe vs. Wade in the same way its erroneous ancestral decisions were challenged.

The day after Roe vs. Wade was decided, the New York Times headline read, “Supreme Court Settles Abortion.” Yet it has remained the most unsettled issue on our national landscape.

The facts above should shape the way that senators, Supreme Court nominees, and all the rest of us speak about Roe vs. Wade and the so-called “right” to choose an abortion. History should shape our language, and should strengthen our hope that abortion policy can change again just as radically as it did in 1973.

Pro-Life Freedom Rides

Pro-life Freedom Ride Campaign to Start in Birmingham
July 23

What: Pro-life Freedom Rides Launch (events and caravan)

Where: Birmingham, Alabama and Atlanta, Georgia

When: Friday, July 23 – Saturday, July 24

Who: Dr. Alveda King, Fr. Frank Pavone, the Priests for Life Pastoral Team, and African-American Leaders from across the nation

Contact for further information: 718-980-4400 or toll free 1-888-735-3448 or email: mail@priestsforlife.org

Details:

Friday, July 23

7pm-9pm: Rally (Assembly/Concert) at Birmingham Jefferson County Convention Complex (BJCC) Theatre, 2100 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. North, Birmingham, AL 35203, 205.458.8400 / www.bjcc.org – (detailed information for the BJCC and Greater Birmingham)

Saturday, July 24

9am-11am: Prayer Vigil at Killing Center. Planned Parenthood: 1211 27th Place South, Birmingham, AL 35205

11:30am: Pro-life Freedom Ride Caravan departs Birmingham for Atlanta (An invited group of pro-life leaders with ride in the Freedom Ride bus. Interested pro-life activists and families are welcome to drive in their own vehicles in this pro-life caravan. We will drive (without stopping) the 2 and ½ hour drive to Atlanta. Vehicles may join up with or leave the caravan at any time as they need to.

4:00pm (ET) – Pro-life Service at the tomb of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the:

King Center in Atlanta
450 Auburn Avenue Northeast
Atlanta, GA 30312
404 893-9882
www.thekingcenter.org

Refreshments to follow.