.- Supporters of legalized abortion have declared their intention to protest this week's Pro-Life Freedom Rides, according to Fr. Frank Pavone of the anti-abortion group Priests for Life.
The Freedom Rides campaign, which begins in Birmingham, Alabama on July 23, will bring its caravan of demonstrators to Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday. There, opponents of abortion will gather to pray at the tomb of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the city's King Center.
Opponents of the campaign object to the Freedom Rides' evocation of the historic 1960s-era civil rights demonstrations, and have sought to block the pro-life activists from using the King Center.
But Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a leading organizer of this year's Freedom Rides, maintains that the same issues of justice and personal dignity lie at the heart of both causes.
“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,” Dr. King stated.
In an open letter on the Freedom Rides website, Fr. Frank Pavone said that “the Civil Rights movement and the Pro-Life movement have the same heart and soul.” The essence of both, he wrote, is “a longing for equal justice for everyone, based on the inherent dignity of every human life.”
On Wednesday, Fr. Pavone emphasized that the pro-life movement, rather than those planning to protest the Freedom Rides, is consistent with Martin Luther King's philosophy of non-violence.
Describing the partial-birth abortion procedure in which “the skull is brought out in fragments rather than a unified piece,” Fr. Pavone asked: “Do these pro-abortion fanatics really expect us to believe that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would want that kind of violence legally protected?”