"How can the dream survive if we murder the children?" asked Alveda King.
King, niece of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., spoke to about 50 people in the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom on Wednesday night in an effort to "spread the truth" about abortion and its dangers.
"Each and every one should have a chance to live, and it starts in the womb," she said.
The event was sponsored by UF's Pro-Life Alliance.
King has been a member of the House of Representatives, a lawyer, a businesswoman, an actress and a mother of six. When she was pregnant with her second child in 1970 at age 19, King said her doctor told her at her six-month checkup that she didn't need to have another child. The doctor then aborted her baby without her permission, she said. King said involuntary abortions were once common.
"He made that decision for me," King said.
She said she made the choice to have another abortion in 1973. In 1976, she said she was feeling "post-abortive" and depressed. She conceived another child and experienced her first ultrasound.
"It was then that I realized that it was a person, not a blob of tissue," King said.
That experience, she said, changed her from an abortion rights stance to an anti-abortion one, and she decided to become an advocate for the unborn. King said her devotion to Christianity gave her strength to speak out.
"The message was allowed to slip through teaching and preaching," said the Rev. Kenneth Curry, pastor of Gainesville Full Gospel Christian Church, who participated in a question-and-answer session after the speech.