Alveda King: Prayer is most effective strategy for pro-life change

Amanda Whitesell

May 04, 2012

Making people mad — a tactic of political commentator Rush Limbaugh — isn't a productive vehicle for change, according to an anti-abortion advocate.

"Rush Limbaugh called a girl a slut for speaking in favor of the (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) mandate and birth control," said Dr. Alveda King, niece of civil-rights activist the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. "That's not how you get people to change."

The first and the last strategy in fighting against the pro-choice movement is prayer, King said.

"You cannot convince somebody to make a change by making them mad," she said. "It's love that never fails — truth — tell them the truth."

It was a coincidence, that Pregnancy Helpline's annual Celebration of Life Dinner was held Thursday at Brighton Nazarene Church, on the National Day of Prayer, said Ann O'Reilly, development and community outreach director for the Pregnancy Helpline.

Alveda King, who, in addition to her six living children, has named her two aborted and one miscarried child, was the event's keynote speaker.

The stigma that abortions before Roe v. Wade were performed in "dark alleys with coat hangers," it's not true, she said.

Alveda King's first abortion, a dilation and curettage, was performed in 1970 in Atlanta, Ga., by the same doctor who delivered her first son. She was 19.

"He said: 'You don't need another baby,' " she said. "He didn't give me a choice.

"He believed that women shouldn't have so many babies," she added.

The doctor — whom she declined to name — though deceased, was well-respected and sat on the Board of Trustees at church, Alveda King said. He performed the abortion without a pregnancy test, anesthesia and without explanation, she said.

"He would deliver babies at the hospital," Alveda King said. "In his office, he would do a procedure for mysterious female ailments called a D&C"

Alveda King, who went through martial issues due to her first abortion, she said, later chose to have a second abortion after the passing of Roe v. Wade.

In the mid 1970s, she became pregnant again and contemplated having a third abortion.

What stopped her was the child's father, a medical resident and law student that said the "blob of tissue" Alveda King referred to was 46 chromosomes — 23 of which were his. And he wanted his alive.

The two later married and had four more children together. They are now divorced due to issues earlier in Alveda King's life, she said.

Her grandfather, Martin Luther King, Sr. also helped Alveda King to realize that she was carrying not a "lump of flesh," but his great-grandchild.

This wasn't the turning point for Alveda King's faith, however.

In 1983, Alveda King who was once a Democratic state legislator, singer and actress, became a college professor. Her new co-workers told her not to talk to a "crazy woman" who preached the Bible on the campus. Yet she did.

She became a "born-again Christian," she said, after the woman made her realize who Jesus is — God, Alveda King said.

Alveda King also spoke of negatives of birth control, noting that Natural Family Planning, advocated by the Catholic Church, isn't really birth control, but rather "putting your sexuality before the lord as husband and wife."

Volunteers Penny Carlisi and Timothy Donovan were honored with Champion for Life Awards at the event.

Near the end of the evening, the Rev. Bradley Trask, of Brighton Assembly of God, praying that when young girls and their mothers drive down Grand River Avenue, they chose Pregnancy Helpline, rather than heading across the street to Planned Parenthood.

For more information about Alveda King, visit

For more information on Pregnancy Helpline, call (810) 494-5433 or visit

Contact Daily Press & Argus reporter Amanda Whitesell at (517) 552-2847 or at Follow her @Mandy-Whitesell on Twitter.


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