Dr. Alveda King, pro-life proponent and niece of the late civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, will join Bishop Thomas John Paprocki at an ecumenical prayer service for life at 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The service will be followed by a prayerful walk and peaceful protest at the Planned Parenthood of Springfield.
The events are sponsored by the diocesan Office for Social Concerns, the Gospel of Life Committee of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Springfield, and Springfield Right to Life.
In March of this year, Planned Parenthood announced that it would begin offering medication abortions at the Springfield offices, located 1000 E. Washington St.
Medication abortions involve pills containing the drug mifepristone (formerly called RU-486), which the pregnant woman takes at the Planned Parenthood office. She is then given medication call misoprostol, which she takes at home. Within 24 to 48 hours, the baby is aborted.
"Our presence and prayers outside Planned Parenthood are a witness to the respect of all life, especially the unborn baby," said Sister Jane Boos, SSND, director of the Office for Social Concerns. "We pray that mothers and fathers, struggling with a difficult pregnancy, will choose to give their unborn child life and that the community of faith will be there to help that woman financially, emotionally and spiritually during the pregnancy. In addition, we protest the introduction of the abortion drug RU-486 in our community."
Sister Jane said that Springfield area Catholic schools have been invited to send student representatives to the prayer service and peaceful protest.
King, who sees the pro-life struggle as a continuation of the civil rights struggle, currently serves as a pastoral associate and director of African-American outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries. She is also a voice for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, sharing her testimony of two abortions, God's forgiveness and healing.
King is the daughter of the late civil rights activist Rev. A.D. King and his wife, Naomi Barber King. She grew up in the civil rights movement led by her uncle. Her family home in Birmingham, Ala., was bombed, as was her father's church office in Louisville, Ky. She was jailed during the open housing movement.
King is a former college professor, served in the Georgia State House of Representatives and sits on the board of Georgia Right to Life.
Right to Life dinner
On that same evening of Sept. 24, King will be the keynote speaker for Springfield Right to Life's annual benefit dinner at the Northfield Center, 3280 Northfield Drive in Springfield. Tickets are $50 per person for adults and $25 each for students.
The reception will begin with hors d'oeuvres at 6:30 p.m. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. with Bishop Paprocki giving the invocation.
Included in the festivities will be presentation of the Msgr. John Spreen awards for 2010. The winners are: Congressman John Shimkus, the Statesman Award; Alveda King, the Warrior Award; and Angie Squires, the Rosebud Award.
Tickets for the benefit dinner are $50 per person for adults and $25 each for students. Reservations for the dinner may be made by check to Springfield Right to Life, 316 E. Monroe St., Springfield IL 62701. Or, visit www.srtl.org.
For information about the ecumenical prayer service and peaceful protest at the Planned Parenthood offices, contact Sister Jane Boos at (217) 698-8500.