Reflection: Civil Rights vs. Planned Parenthood

On Monday, our nation will celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A movie has just been released, Selma, which is based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches in Alabama. In the past several months, the news media has focused on white police officers who have fatally apprehended black criminals, which has caused much racial tension in our country. Some may wonder how much progress we have made since the 1960s. We as Christians have the opportunity to reflect on our own attitudes toward people of different skin colors, cultures, and languages. How is Dr. King’s dream of racial equality and harmony (achieved in a non-violent way) being enacted in our lives as Americans and as Catholics? If we struggle with prejudice of any sort, are we honest with ourselves and with God so that we can overcome these destructive attitudes?

Ironically, in the same week our beloved nation reflects on great progress in human rights, we remember one event that single-handedly set back the United States and civilized humanity, that is, the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, in which abortion-on-demand was legalized. Thursday will mark 32 years since the tragic decision. Already in the 1960s, the organization Planned Parenthood was pushing for abortion rights and for government-supported contraception. Planned Parenthood was founded by Margaret Sanger, a well-known white supremacist, in order to slow down birthrates of races of people (minorities) that were of darker skin color. Today, Planned Parenthood abortion mills and other such facilities are located in areas that have heavy African-American and Hispanic populations. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., has said the following: “Abortion is genocide. It’s killing populations. It’s killing generations and certainly the population that is most impacted by abortion in America is the black community. So I feel that as a civil rights leader I have responsibility to proclaim that black Americans are being exterminated by the genocidal acts of abortion.” Latino-Americans are also high-risk targets for the abortion industry.

On Thursday, thousands of Pro-Life people will march peacefully in Washington D.C. and in state capitals to encourage change and to pray for the conversion of our country. The Gospel of Life in our nation will triumph only if we have inner conviction of the truth — the truth of the sacred value of each and every human life — and perseverance in communicating that truth. Dr. King had this conviction and perseverance for his “Dream,” and many Pro-Life people are seeing a shift in public opinion concerning abortion. In 2014, 73 more abortion mills closed across the country. The U.S. Bishops have asked us to pray more fervently from January 17-25 for an end to abortion, and to fast on Thursday, January 22 for this intention. May our sacrifices lead to the proclamation and generous response to the Gospel of Life: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mk 1:15).

Reflection by Fr. Nolan Lowry, STL, pastor of St. Leo Parish in Centerville, Texas.