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Is MLK’s niece, Dr. Alveda King, on Tebow time?

 

Lonna Saunders

January 15, 2012

Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL

   
 

Two days after Denver quarterback Tim Tebow led his team to a miracle 29-23 overtime upset against the Pittsburgh Steelers as he lived out his favorite Bible passage, John 3:16, by completing passes covering 316 yards, I spoke with Dr. Alveda King about her Life Breakfast on Tuesday at Giovanni’s sponsored by The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society and World Congress of Families. It’s her first in Rockford and open to the public. (Call 815-964-5819.)


Noting number coincidences, I wondered whether Dr. Martin Luther King’s born-again Christian niece were on Tebow time, too. I asked about her 22nd birthday falling on Jan. 22, 1973, the day the Supreme Court decided the landmark Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion. With a birth date of Jan. 22, 1951, how could it not become her life story?


She had an illegal abortion before Roe v. Wade. Then the same year Roe was decided, had a second abortion — this time a legal one. The coincidence of the calendar dates hasn’t really affected her, she says, except she celebrates her birthday doing anti-abortion activities so “it may confirm spending my birthday this way is a good thing to do.”


She says there weren’t just the two abortions. She almost had a third one, but was talked out of it. Those first two abortions her family had not known about.


That’s because secret abortions — whether legal or illegal — were encouraged by the Planned Parenthood office where she lived, she said. In 1976, she finally chose to lift the veil of secrecy before what would have been her third abortion, to tell her family and ask for advice about the decision she was wrestling to make. She was not married to the father.


The baby’s father, then a medical student, now a psychiatrist, and her grandfather, the Rev. Martin Luther King Sr.’s, influence on her, convinced her to go ahead with the pregnancy. Also, viewing a sonogram. Because he was a medical student, the baby’s father had access to a sonogram and when he showed it to her, she said she couldn’t go forward with the abortion. She eventually married the father and they had five children together. The baby who was not aborted has grown up to be an attorney.


Her mother almost aborted her to stay in college, but her grandfather again stepped in.


Other King/Tebow similarities. Both with Baptist ministers as dads, doctors urged Tebow’s mother to abort because of medical risks associated with her pregnancy.


Two days after Denver quarterback Tim Tebow led his team to a miracle 29-23 overtime upset against the Pittsburgh Steelers as he lived out his favorite Bible passage, John 3:16, by completing passes covering 316 yards, I spoke with Dr. Alveda King about her Life Breakfast on Tuesday at Giovanni’s sponsored by The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society and World Congress of Families. It’s her first in Rockford and open to the public. (Call 815-964-5819.)


Noting number coincidences, I wondered whether Dr. Martin Luther King’s born-again Christian niece were on Tebow time, too. I asked about her 22nd birthday falling on Jan. 22, 1973, the day the Supreme Court decided the landmark Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion. With a birth date of Jan. 22, 1951, how could it not become her life story?


She had an illegal abortion before Roe v. Wade. Then the same year Roe was decided, had a second abortion — this time a legal one. The coincidence of the calendar dates hasn’t really affected her, she says, except she celebrates her birthday doing anti-abortion activities so “it may confirm spending my birthday this way is a good thing to do.”


She says there weren’t just the two abortions. She almost had a third one, but was talked out of it. Those first two abortions her family had not known about.


That’s because secret abortions — whether legal or illegal — were encouraged by the Planned Parenthood office where she lived, she said. In 1976, she finally chose to lift the veil of secrecy before what would have been her third abortion, to tell her family and ask for advice about the decision she was wrestling to make. She was not married to the father.


The baby’s father, then a medical student, now a psychiatrist, and her grandfather, the Rev. Martin Luther King Sr.’s, influence on her, convinced her to go ahead with the pregnancy. Also, viewing a sonogram. Because he was a medical student, the baby’s father had access to a sonogram and when he showed it to her, she said she couldn’t go forward with the abortion. She eventually married the father and they had five children together. The baby who was not aborted has grown up to be an attorney.


Her mother almost aborted her to stay in college, but her grandfather again stepped in.


Other King/Tebow similarities. Both with Baptist ministers as dads, doctors urged Tebow’s mother to abort because of medical risks associated with her pregnancy.


Dr. Alveda King knows her uncle, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., was anti-abortion. He often spoke out against the infanticide of the ancient Romans. Dr. King’s father talked both her and her mother out of abortions.


As a teen, she learned of her uncle’s assassination from a TV at the dressmaker’s while being fitted for a ball gown. She rushed home. “Warm and wonderful, a man who loved his family, who loved us all,” she recalls. Shattered was the safety and security she’d felt from all the King men despite the threats and bombings of her Birmingham home and her father’s Louisville church.


She cherishes the memory of her uncle telling her at 14: “I know we’re not violent. But I’m gonna have to get a baseball bat to chase after some of these boys.” Those trying to court her too young.


“We didn’t date. We courted supervised and with groups, or he’d visit my parents with doors to the living room wide open. We’d chase butterflies, fly kites, go to movies, go to eat. A virgin at 18 when my dad walked me down the aisle.”


Are her cousins anti-abortion? “I see them at Christmas, holidays. They all know a baby has the right to life. Abortion is a serious civil rights issue. It violates the baby’s right to life. A woman has the right to choose with her body. The baby inside her is not her body. Where is the lawyer for the baby? How can my uncle’s dream survive if we murder our children?”


This grandmother and mother of six founded King for America Inc. and is a pastoral associate and director of African-American outreach for Priests for Life.


Lonna Saunders is a Rockford writer and attorney.


 

   
 
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