[The speech below is available online here.
Click here to view a video of me giving this speech in Madrid.]
The Culture of Life v. the Culture of Death:
The Greatest Civil Rights Issue of Today
Thank you very much for inviting me and for allowing me to take part in this very important conference. It’s an honor to be here.
Today, I stand before you as part of the greatest civil rights struggle facing the world in the 21st century – the battle to end discrimination against the unborn.
The 20th century battle over skin color and the battle today for the unborn both have profound religious and moral components. At their core, both battle for civil rights. I know this to be true from reason and from painful personal experience.
I was born into the civil rights movement, on January 22, 1951. My uncle Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his brother, my Daddy, the Reverend A.D. King, Uncle M.L.’s right-hand man, were preachers and civil rights warriors. They were often called “the sons of thunder!”
As a girl, I lived under a system of segregation called Jim Crow laws. These laws said that African Americans had to sit on the back of the bus and were treated as “second class citizens.”
Under Jim Crow laws, we could not eat at the same restaurants as whites, stay in the same hotels, or even drink out of the same water fountains. And we did not have the right to vote.
The Jim Crow system of legal segregation was based on a lie – the lie that some people are less human than others.
People were lynched; beaten with clubs and metal pipes; were mauled by dogs.
Playmates of mine died in a Birmingham, Alabama church bombing. My family’s home was firebombed. My Uncle M.L. was gunned down. And my Daddy was found dead in the family swimming pool under suspicious circumstances.
We were considered to be less than human, so our masters could do whatever they wanted to us.
The attitudes toward the unborn put forth by the culture of death today are remarkably similar to the attitudes of racists toward African Americans in the 1950s.
Blacks in the 1950s and babies in the womb today were and are considered to be less than fully human. Both were and are the victims of oppression and violence, but society doesn’t want to recognize, much less confront the oppression and violence. It’s just too unpleasant.
Now, you may have heard that pro-lifers in the United States have been successful in passing state laws that give a pregnant woman the right to view an ultrasound image of her baby before an abortion. The culture of death is opposing these laws with all their might. They know the power of an image.
In 1961, a journalist captured The Freedom Riders, a group of blacks and whites who tested a Supreme Court decision by riding in an integrated bus together traveling through the South, on film. As the bus pulled into Birmingham, Alabama, a mob was waiting to attack the Freedom Riders with clubs, pipes, and whatever else they could find. This photojournalist reported that as soon as someone in the mob saw someone with a camera, the camera was taken from him and smashed.
The oppressors did not want people to see the violence of discrimination.
But America did see. The film in one of the smashed cameras miraculously survived and photos of innocent people being attacked, lying on the ground in their own blood, were printed across the United States. It was a turning point in the campaign for civil rights.
The victims of racism now had faces. They bled. They were human beings. The photos of their plight spoke in ways that words could not.
Then and now, the culture of death tries to make their victims invisible.
Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life in the United States always says, “America will not reject abortion until America sees abortion.”
It’s harder to kill a baby than a blob of tissue. And the culture of death knows this.
The death industry built on the bodies of unborn babies has done a remarkable job of selling itself to the public as a respectable, charitable enterprise. But Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses around the world really fit Jesus’ description of the Pharisees, who were “like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.” (Matt 23:27)
That’s the abortion industry!
Not long ago Planned Parenthood offices all across the United States were caught on tape, willingly accepting donations from a man who said he wanted his donation to be used only for the abortion of black babies. He said he wanted to reduce the black population. Not one Planned Parenthood office refused his money. See the global connection?
Even now, reports reveal that abortion clinics in Great Britain are willing to break the law by performing sex selection abortions and giving women abortion request forms that already contain a doctor’s pre-approving signature.
The global culture of death and the culture of racism are working together for a mutual goal.
Consider Margaret Sanger, a eugenicist and a racist and the founder of Planned Parenthood. When she said she wanted more children from the fit and fewer children from the unfit, it didn’t take much imagination to figure out what she meant. I’ll just say that I don’t think she would have wanted me, an African American woman to have more children.
Remember – legal abortion has done to African Americans what the Ku Klux Klan and their fellow racists only dreamed of.
Since 1973, 14 million black babies have been aborted in the United States. That’s one-third of the current number of blacks in the U.S. It’s as if a plague swept through black neighborhoods and killed one of every four people. That plague was real, though, and it came in the form of abortion clinics.
Abortion destroys the physical bodies of God’s tiny children and also destroys the family, including the black family.
The decline in marriage and family isn’t limited to the black community in the United States. It’s happening among every ethnic group and every nation where abortion has broken the bond between mother and child, father and child, and mother and father.
Of the many factors involved in the dramatic decline in two-parent homes, the destruction of children is at the top of the list.
The damage is global.
After two abortions, nearly 40 years ago, I know the emotional devastation, the sense of loss, and the guilt abortion causes. I was the victim of discrimination and the loss of rights in my youth. Then I became the perpetrator of discrimination and the victimizer of my own children in my adulthood.
I allowed myself to believe the culture of death’s lie when Planned Parenthood told me that my baby was just a blob of tissue. I believed the people in the office that day when they told me that everything would be fine.
Everything wasn’t fine. They lied. And I became not just a victimizer, but also a victim of abortion. I stayed a victim for years. But God changed that.
I praise Him for ministries such as Rachel’s Vineyard, and Silent No More Awareness where women like me can finally find healing from the pain of abortion.
Yes, the culture of death sells abortion as the answer to personal problems and societal problems.
Want to go to school? Abort your baby.
Want to have a good job? Terminate your pregnancy.
Feel overwhelmed by your current situation? The abortion clinic will help you.
In the U.S. in the 1960s we were told that legal abortion would reduce child abuse.
Today we’re even being told that abortions are healthier for women than childbirth.
According to the culture of death, abortions help everyone. After all, even the unwanted child would have an unhappy life; it’s for his own good that he be destroyed.
The funny thing is, I’ve never met an unwanted child who would have rather been aborted.
And I’ve never seen a community or a nation thrive that kills its children.
The culture of death has done its sales job in North America, Europe, and Japan. It’s now trying to convince the developing world that the way to health, peace, and prosperity is for it to make abortions freely available.
All lies! Wait until the first generation that stops having children gets old; until the side effects of abortion and related pregnancy prevention methods kill your babies and make mothers sick. Abortion and pregnancy prevention drugs and surgeries take a toll on women’s health; then women have fewer children and become sicker over a period of time.
Remember, people who have been led by the culture of death to choose themselves over their children inevitably face the consequences of that choice.
Abortion doesn’t just kill babies, abortion hurts women and kills nations. Abortion kills the future.
The culture of death, through its spokespersons at Planned Parenthood and the United Nations, is now offering to Africa and South America this future to embrace:
- Legal abortion – so that you can have an education and a career, and so you don’t have to die in childbirth or in an unapproved abortion clinic.
- Singleness – because if you don’t have children, why bother getting married?
- Homosexuality – because no one should be discriminated against (even if compassion says to tell the truth about what the Bible says)
- Women’s Health issues will become worse, with possible connections to breast cancer, cervical cancer, depression and other health related issues.
And, of course, when everything starts to collapse, the culture of death brings in its final recommendation – euthanasia – the ultimate expression of hopelessness.
Yet, there is hope in Jesus!
Uncle M.L. once sat in a Birmingham, Alabama jail, arrested for planning a non-violent demonstration against that city’s segregation policies.
There Uncle M.L. wrote to pastors and other critics; “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
He knew and was experiencing the injustice of discrimination and its impact on blacks. Today, we know and experience discrimination’s deadly impact on invisible, unwanted babies in the womb. Making African Americans equal under the law must have seemed as far away to Uncle M.L. in that jail cell as making unborn babies equal under the law does to us in this room today.
But he had a dream…
The culture of death is self-focused.
The culture of life is Christ focused.
The culture of death has lots of money and media behind it.
We have the truth.
We must love and help our neighbors, our brothers and sisters in countries from around the world to live and not die.
Friends, the right to be born is the ultimate civil right. Without life, no other rights exist.
The culture of death is dying. Those close to extinction wail loudest.
Now is the time to stand for life and preach the truth in love.
Love never fails.
Please click here to view videos that Dr. King showed during her presentation.