Alveda King, niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., came to the University of Missouri on Monday night with an anti-abortion message tailored to college students.
King, a pastoral associate at Priests for Life in Atlanta, spoke to a crowd of about 100 people — about 50 of whom were college age — in Jesse Auditorium, sharing her personal experiences after having two abortions and how her own past and her family's past have shaped her beliefs and advocacy.
"I believe colleges are special," she said during a news conference. "That's where you get the energy for transforming society. When people don't have the information they need, they can't make the right decisions or the best decisions."
King said abortion shouldn't be an option even if a woman is impregnated because of rape or incest because "two wrongs can never make a right." To her, women should seek alternatives. College-age women make up a third of those who have abortions, she said.
"We are beginning to discover that women don't want abortions," she said. "Women want love and support."
King advocates for adoption but also spoke about communities being supportive of pregnant women. She talked about the importance of clinics that help teach "family planning," including teaching women how to parent as well as other life skills such as balancing a checkbook and how to obtain an education and a job.
King said she's a feminist. "I believe the woman has the right to choose what to do with her body, but that baby is not her body," she said.
Her discussion was rescheduled from February, Black History Month. King said her talk was broader this time than she had planned for the scheduled February appearance, which was concentrated on her belief that abortion is a form of genocide for the black community.
King said large crowds at events such as last night's show her that people "are looking for answers."
"College students are so intelligent, but nobody is giving them good information," she said.
MU's Students for Life chapter sponsored King's talk.
Reagan Nielsen, former Students for Life president, said she wanted to bring King to campus because she thinks students and the community can benefit from her message.
"We want to expose the truth," she said. "When they know the truth, they can make decisions for themselves."
This article was published in the Tuesday, April 29, 2014 edition of the Columbia Daily Tribune with the headline "Abortion topic of MU talk; MLK's niece has 'pro-life' views."
This page has been revised to make the following clarification.
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
A story Tuesday made mention of Alveda King’s previously scheduled talk at the University of Missouri being set to coincide with Black History Month in February. The event was an MU Black History Month Committee-sanctioned event but was organized by Students for Life during Black History Month and later rescheduled.