Editor’s note: The Newnan Times-Herald continues its series focusing on the Affordable Care Act with this seventh installment. Today Dr. Alveda C. King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., shares thoughts about political wrangling over ACA and the current federal government shutdown.)
Dr. Alveda C. King is a preacher’s daughter — a Newnan preacher’s daughter, even — and she sees the government shutdown and the wrangling over the Affordable Care Act in moral terms.
King, 62, is passionate about the issue of abortion. She is director of African-American outreach for Priests for Life in Staten Island, N.Y., and has spoken movingly of her anguish in light of two abortions of her own decades ago. King spoke out recently about the government shutdown, and earlier this year she agreed to be a plaintiff in a suit challenging the ACA.
With regard to the government shutdown, King said this year “the debate is over a ludicrous issue — birth control and easy access to abortions to be paid for with our money, our tax dollars.” She said the issue is “couched neatly and wrapped up in a ‘health care for all’ bow, but it is still all foolishness.”
King sees the issues facing society in stark terms.
“I’ve been saying that — as the mother of two daughters and grandmother to three precious girls, they don’t need free birth control and easy abortions. What they need more are decent homes, good education and relief from poverty. Also, they definitely need to have prayer back in schools, and they need Jesus,” she said.
King said Republicans are trying to block $363 million that goes to Planned Parenthood clinics through Title X and Medicare. Critics have said the money — though allocated for preventive care and testing — indirectly subsidizes abortions through Planned Parenthood.
“Now that the shutdown is actually here, we can see that Planned Parenthood is still in the mix as a major proponent of distributing free birth control and easy access to abortions — while all the time they remain as America’s largest abortion provider,” King said.
Looking at potential financial impact from the continued shutdown, King said, “With all of this in mind, this leads me to say that I’m praying for sanity to blow over Washington, D.C., and over all of our state and local seats of political power.”
In August, King was among the plaintiffs in a suit filed by the American Freedom Law Center in U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia. The suit, filed on behalf of Priests for Life, challenges the ACA mandate that Priests for Life’s insurance plan must provide contraception, abortifacients and sterilization services to its employees.
Priests for Life was the fourth organization to file a lawsuit against the mandate in February 2012. The court protected Priests for Life from the effects of the mandate, but declined to rule on its merits.
When accommodations for faith-based groups were released in June, Priests for Life leaders felt those accommodations did not provide the protection the organization needed from being forced to cover objectionable drugs and services as part of their health plans.
“As we predicted from the outset, the accommodation turned out to be no accommodation at all,” Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, said in August. The lawsuit alleges that the regulations violate the Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by forcing religious organizations to violate their religious beliefs.
King, Pavone and Janet Morana, executive director of Priests for Life, were listed as plaintiffs in the suit.
Alveda King said the Obama administration’s insistence on free contraception is an affront to civil rights. “There are racist and eugenic roots to this thinking,” she said earlier this year.
“Efforts to control the population always target minority and lower-income groups,” King stated. “We will not sit still and allow this to happen.”
Last week, King said, “Free birth control and easy abortion access … remain at the core of the Obamacare battle.”
Daughter of the late slain civil rights activist Alfred Daniel Williams King and niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Alveda King is a consultant to the Africa Humanitarian Christian Fellowship.
The former college professor holds a master of arts degree in business management. She is the author of “Sons of Thunder,” “The King Family Legacy” and “I Don't Want Your Man, I Want My Own.”
She has served on the boards and committees of Coalition of African American Pastors, and the Judeo-Christian Coalition for Constitutional Restoration. From 1979-1981, Alveda King served in the Georgia State House of Representatives and she later ran for a Congressional post.
Alfred Daniel Williams King, Alveda King’s father, became pastor of Mt. Vernon First Baptist Church in Newnan in 1959. “He only pastored four churches, and one of them was Mt. Vernon,” Dianne Wood of the African-American Alliance said of A.D. King in a 2009 interview.
Mt. Vernon was the first pastorate for the recent Morehouse graduate, and his older brother preached a revival at Mt. Vernon during the time A.D. King was a pastor in Newnan. A.D. King pastored churches in Birmingham, Ala., and Louisville, Ky., before returning to historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he was co-pastor with his father after the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. The co-pastorate at the historic Atlanta church lasted only about a year.
A.D. King, an accomplished swimmer, died July 21, 1969, in what was officially deemed a drowning accident. His death — like that of his brother — has been the subject of controversy over the years.
During Alveda King’s girlhood, her family’s home in Birmingham was bombed. "Daddy's house was bombed, then in Louisville, Kentucky, his church office was bombed. I was also jailed during the open housing movement," she recalled.