Coordinators of the anti-choice billboard campaign in Atlanta have arranged a “Freedom Bus for the Unborn” that began on July 23rd in Birmingham, Alabama. Funded by Priests for Life of New York, this anti-choice operation exploits the historical site across from the 16th Street Baptist Church where the Ku Klux Klan killed four girls in a bombing in 1963. Alveda King, the niece of Dr. King and an employee of Priests for Life, will head the anti-abortion campaign in an attempt to lend credence to the “black children are an endangered species” mantra.
These freedom rides warp historical facts to suggest that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King opposed reproductive freedoms. Much like other anti-choice organizations, the coordinators behind the freedom rides co-opt the language of civil rights, a movement based on expanding the right to make choices about one’s own life, to impinge on the decision-making abilities of black women. To speak out against these misrepresentations of facts and pro-choice ideologies, three groups – SisterSong, SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW!, and SisterLove, Inc. – organized a counter-protest at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center in Atlanta last Saturday. Be on the lookout for more counter-protests, or organize one with fellow reproductive justice activists, to combat these freedom rides and put forth a vision of civil rights which empowers, rather than stigmatizes, women of color and seeks to advance, rather than roll back, our freedoms.
By Nicole Catá, Policy Intern