Alveda King talks about the connection between civil rights and being pro-life

Swetha Sivaram

Document Publication: The Virginia Informer -

Publication Date: February 27, 2008

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Quoting Martin Luther King, Jr., Alveda King stood in Tidewater A at 8:00 pm on Monday, February 11, and asserted that the right to life issue is the civil rights issue of this era.

Ms. King, the niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the daughter of civil rights leader A.D. King, is a woman of many accomplishments. Sponsored by the Students for Life as a speaker for Life Issues Awareness Week, Ms. King has a master’s degree in business management from Central Michigan University and an honorary doctorate from St. Anselm College. She has also served as a senior fellow of the Alexis de Tocqueville Institute, the coalition of African American Pastors and in the Georgia State House of Representatives and was the founder of King for America, Inc. She talked about her life experiences with her father, Dr. King’s brother, as well as the two abortions she had, which launched her into a state of post-abortive stress.

“Abortion is genocide,” said Ms. King, “a violent act that violates the civil rights of an innocent human being.” She talked about her two abortions and her evolution from being pro choice to being pro life. She also insisted about the connection between what she considered the two civil rights issues—the issue of racial equality and now, the right to life. “If you don’t see 46 chromosomes as it is,” she said, “you won’t see me as a human being.” She asserted that life began at conception and also advocated abstinence.

Ms. King showed two clips, one dealing with the civil rights movement and the second with abortion, and led a discussion about why “one is considered civil rights and the other is not.” Reminiscing about the civil rights movement, she talked about the time her father’s house was bombed in Birmingham and the time when he was found mysteriously dead in the swimming pool for being one of the leading leaders of civil rights. She portrayed the rights of African Americans as analogous to the rights of unborn babies and portrayed the right to life as the civil issue of the time. “Is [the] womb a sanctuary or a tomb?” she asked. “Womb is supposed to be a sanctuary. A sanctuary is the center of sanctity.”

Citing the US Constitution, that originally stated that African American slaves were only 3/5 of a person and the Dred Scott Supreme Court case, which declared that African Americans are considered property, she believed that the law, as was the case in the past, did not recognize the life of what it called “the other side.”

She also talked at length about the two abortions she had experienced and how they were instrumental to her conversion to pro-life. The first, she said, was involuntary in 1973 when her doctor committed DLC, a surgery that destroyed her pregnancy without her knowledge or consent. Talking about her second abortion, she said that Planned Parenthood told her that they would help her “with the little blob of tissue.” Speaking about her experience, she said that, “there’s a shame and stigma, which I often feel,” and that she was misinformed by Planned Parenthood about the life of the baby. Explaining how she became pro-life, Ms. King talked about how she realized her children had human lives when her soon-to-be husband talked her out of getting another abortion. She soon “rededicated her life to Jesus,” and was born again in 1983.

Speaking about opponents to the pro-life cause, she said that “it is a denial issue” and that people don’t want to recognize that life begins at conception. “Life is a universal human issue,” she said when asked what her reply would be to people who would consider this only a religious issue. After talking at length about abortion, Ms. King said of the pro-choice movement, “God knows we are human, but we can’t keep doing what we want to do.”

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