The thought of the word “abortion” should be unthinkable, Alveda King said during a community meeting Thursday.
Local pro-life residents and leaders sang spirituals and joined hands with the anti-abortion activist and orator at Rocky Mount High School.
King is a relative of the renowned 20th century civil rights leader, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
During her talk, she stressed her point that the abortion issue is not a matter only for black or white or Democrat or Republican.
“This country was founded upon the respect for personal freedom,” King said, referencing to an open letter drafted to President Barack Obama earlier this week. “Nobody should go against his or her conscious or moral values in order to keep their job. This is what abortion will do.”
The author, college professor and former representative in the Georgia State House founded the faith-based organization King for America and serves as director of African-American Outreach for Gospel of Life, headed by Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life.
The pro-life advocate said abortion remains an issue she continues to stress because of the chilling impact it had on her own family.
King said she recalls how her own mother wanted to get an abortion while carrying her in the womb in 1950. King said her grandfather, Martin Luther King Sr., stopped her mother from completing the abortion.
She said this remained “a painful family secret.”
“That’s not a lump of flesh,” King’s grandfather said at the time. “That’s my granddaughter. There will be no abortion.”
King’s also referenced her own pro-life stance on abortion, which she said is rooted deeply in her own experiences as a post-abortion mother.
Now a mother of six, King had two abortions.
After marrying in 1969, King became pregnant in 1970 with her first child.
But she said when she went for a checkup, her physician performed a dilation and curettage without her knowledge, which resulted in an abortion.
In 1973, after the Roe vs. Wade decision was passed, she said she voluntarily received another abortion.
King said she wanted a third abortion, but her baby’s father and grandfather both told her to not to do it.
“‘This is my grandchild, and you are going to have that baby,’” King said her grandfather told her.
King said she accepted Christ in 1983 and continues to speak out about the hazards of abortion through the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.
Some pro-life advocates said they believe abortion can be prevented with education about the subject.
Marcia Brown, director of the “WorthWaiting 4” program at the Pregnancy Care Center, said she travels to Nash-Rocky Mount schools to talk about self-esteem and peer-pressure issues with young girls, in order to help them learn about the consequences of premarital sex.
“Abstinence is the first line of defense in preventing abortion,” Brown said. “A woman does have the right to chose. But her moment of choice comes before she has made the choice to become sexually active. We need to educate people on that moment of choice.”
One of the coordinators for King’s visit, Anna Heilman, a pro-life representative at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, said she feels abortion is one message continually ignored but hopes King’s words help enforce their stance.
“This is something that we all have to do something about,” Heilman said. “I think we have a lot of work to do. In our hearts, the most fundamental right to have is the right to life.”