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Proclaim Freedom for the Unborn
Proclamar la libertad para los No Nacidos
Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life
October 12, 2009
The pro-life movement is all about freedom. That’s why Priests for Life, with the leadership of our Pastoral Associate Dr. Alveda King, is launching “Freedom Rides” for the unborn to galvanize pro-life activity across the country.
During the Civil Rights movement, the “Freedom Rides” constituted a distinctive moment of resolve and unity. The Supreme Court, in its 1960 decision
Boynton vs. Virginia
, had outlawed segregation in bus terminals and restaurants serving interstate travelers. So the following spring, thirteen people – seven African-Americans and six whites – decided to travel by bus from Washington DC to New Orleans to test the enforcement of that Supreme Court decision.
Along the way, particularly in Alabama, they encountered opposition and violence from those who did not want desegregation. But having been brutally attacked, and some lying with wounds in hospital beds, the “Freedom Riders” vowed that the journey would continue. That’s when others joined in, and the initial Freedom Ride became 60 rides across Southern states in the summer of 1961, with some 450 riders participating. And by the fall of that same year, the government issued orders for the enforcement of desegregation at the bus terminals.
The Civil Rights movement and the Pro-Life movement have the same heart and soul: a longing for equal justice for everyone, based on the inherent dignity of every human life. That’s why, when Dr. Alveda King first walked with me at the annual March for Life and I asked her, “Does this remind you of the marches in the civil rights movement?” she declared, “Fr. Frank, this is the civil rights movement!” Both movements are movements of freedom.
It is therefore time for Freedom Rides for the unborn. The pro-life movement is more ready than ever to proclaim
from the lies and the deceit that allow abortion to continue…
from the fear of speaking up and taking action for the unborn…
from the shame and guilt of past involvement in abortion, so that those called to speak up and share their testimonies may do so as people who are “Silent No More”…
from the political oppression that tramples on human rights and denies equality before the law…
from violence and death itself.
People will be invited to participate in the Freedom Rides themselves. The bus rides are a symbol of the journey we are on, of the fellowship we share with each other, and of the fact that we are a movement. Major events in cities along the bus routes will be held, in which all the different facets of the pro-life
will be invited to participate.
At the same time, people not on the rides or along the route can participate by being “Freedom Riders for the Unborn” and carrying out special projects that will be coordinated among Freedom Riders nationwide.
In his first public sermon, Jesus summarized his message and mission by saying he had come to “proclaim liberty to the captives…” As his disciples, as his People of Life, let us do the same!
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