Statement at the United Nations International Women's Day

Critical Role of Mothers in Society

 

Dr. Alveda King

 
  3/8/2010
 

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I am very grateful and humbled to be able to take part in this forum today. 

No matter what great accomplishments women achieve, there simply is no more important role for us than motherhood—loving, nurturing, and raising the next generation.  To ensure a brighter tomorrow, we must affirm and support motherhood in whatever policies or programs we devise.

Simply stated, mothers shape the future.

As such, we should at the very least ensure that women who are mothers are not harmed or denigrated by any policies or programs.  This means we should begin by recognizing that women become mothers the moment they are pregnant.  The baby in the womb is a dependent, but fully human individual who is nourished and safeguarded by his or her mother.  Any program that seeks to assist mothers should begin when motherhood begins, at pregnancy.  A woman’s access to proper food, clean water, and prenatal care should be a basic first step, especially in countries where such fundamental resources are not readily available.

Ensuring that mothers are not harmed or denigrated by policies or programs brings me to my second point.  This point comes from my own experience and the experiences of more women than I can count.  Reproductive health should be viewed as pro-creative health.  Pregnancy is a unique life-giving capability of women that should be affirmed by governments and not treated as a disease to be eliminated. Reproductive health needs to respect life and motherhood needs to be valued and mothers helped to fulfill their critical roles. 

Societies depend on mothers to provide countries with their most treasured resource—children.  An anti-motherhood philosophy yields a deadly and poisonous fruit that presents governments  with pressing challenges concerning economic growth, labor markets , care for the elderly, and so much more.  According to the most recent US Census Bureau report “An Aging World: 2008” the number of people 65 and older is exploding around the world will outnumber children under 5 for the first time ever within the next decade.  

I ask—How is it that disrespect for motherhood and birth has reached such a level that in the near future young children will be among the missing in society and in many countries already are? As the mother of nine children, six living, one miscarried, and two aborted, I know the joy and hope children bring to an individual family.  I personally know the emptiness their absence creates. On the global scale, the absence of children has devastating consequences. 

Let us vow to take a procreative approach to pregnancy and childbirth and provide mothers with the life-affirming health care they need.  Let us work to ensure that both the woman and her precious daughter or son survives pregnancy and childbirth.    

As we celebrate mothers today, let us redouble our efforts to honor motherhood.  No matter how much women accomplish in life, what great goals we achieve, we must first and foremost remember that the future is in our hands.  Let us treat our future with reverence and respect.

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Dr. King currently serves as a Pastoral Associate and Director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries. She is also a voice for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, sharing her testimony of two abortions, God’s forgiveness, and healing.

The daughter of the late civil rights activist Rev. A.D. King and his wife Naomi Barber King, Alveda grew up in the civil rights movement led by her uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Her family home in Birmingham, Alabama, was bombed, as was her father’s church office in Louisville, Kentucky. Alveda was jailed during the open housing movement. She sees the pro-life movement as a continuation of the civil rights struggle.

Dr. King is a former college professor and served in the Georgia State House of Representatives. She is a best-selling author; among her books are How Can the Dream Survive if we Murder the Children? and I Don’t Want Your Man, I Want My Own. She is an accomplished actress and songwriter. The Founder of King for America, Inc., Alveda is also the recipient of a Doctorate of Laws degree from Saint Anselm College and sits on the Board of Georgia Right to Life.

Dr. King lives in Atlanta, where she is the grateful mother of six and a doting grandmother.