On Sunday, Rosa Parks, the 92-year old symbol of the civil rights movement who refused to turn over her bus seat to a white man in the winter of 1955, thus sparking what would become one of the most profound human rights crusades in history, died quietly at her home in Detroit.
Fr. Frank Pavone, head of the group, Priests for Life, said yesterday that Parks should be an inspiration and a symbol for the pro-life movement because of her recognition of divine law over the law of man.
Fr. Pavone released a joint statement this week with Dr. Alveda King, Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece, who is also an active voice for numerous human rights issues.
In their statement, Fr. Pavone and Dr. King said that "We are saddened at the death of Rosa Parks today and remember her with gratitude. Rosa Park's act of defiance in refusing to move to the back of a bus was actually an act of obedience to God, affirming the equality of every human being.”
“Today,” they continued, “those who fight for the equality of children before birth must likewise resist unjust laws that permit abortion. Individuals should refuse to cooperate in the implementation of policies that allow the killing of children."
Mrs. Park’s simple act led to the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott--a key civil rights moment in which African-Americans refused to use the city’s bus service for over 13 months.
Their actions caught the attention of a then 26-year old preacher named Martin Luther King Jr., who wrote in his 1958 book, "Stride Toward Freedom,” that "Mrs. Parks's arrest was the precipitating factor rather than the cause of the protest.”
“The cause”, he said, “lay deep in the record of similar injustices."
Pro-life leaders say that similar deep-rooted injustices are still active today, particularly against the unborn baby, killed by the millions each year in abortions.