October 16, 2015

Alveda King: from abortion recipient to pro-life advocate

Alveda King, niece of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., left, shares a story with the grandchildren of Cindy Noe, standing at left, before signing a copy of her book at the Right to Life of Indianapolis “Celebrate Life” dinner in Indianapolis on Sept. 29. During the dinner, Noe received Right to Life of Indianapolis’ Respect for Life Award. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

Alveda King, niece of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., left, shares a story with the grandchildren of Cindy Noe, standing at left, before signing a copy of her book at the Right to Life of Indianapolis “Celebrate Life” dinner in Indianapolis on Sept. 29. During the dinner, Noe received Right to Life of Indianapolis’ Respect for Life Award. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

By Natalie Hoefer

The keynote speaker at this year’s Right to Life of Indianapolis “Celebrate Life” dinner was Alveda King, niece of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

King, who works as the director of African-American outreach for Priests for Life, is an author and speaker, and former actress, college professor and state legislator from Georgia.

After having two abortions, King had a conversion experience and has become a pro-life advocate.

She addressed the crowd of nearly 1,000 at the Right to Life of Indianapolis “Celebrate Life” Dinner on Sept. 29 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. (Related story: ‘Celebrate Life’ dinner highlights pro-life successes and heroes)

Here are excerpts from her address.

‘I am a living dream’

“Young people, I want you to know there’s something called courting, and there’s something called dating. Only married people should go on a date, because after you go bowling or doing all the fun things you do when you’re courting, at the end of that time the married couple can go home and close the door and enter into the beautiful relationship that God designed for married couples for pro-creation. That’s what a date is.

“Courting should be all the fun, but the sanctity should only be completed in holy matrimony.

“My dad met my mother when she was in 10th grade. They were allowed to court when they were in the 11th grade. Mama’s mama made a big mistake and thought they were two nice young people and they could go on an unsupervised date. Well, guess who showed up on that date? [King pointed to herself.]

“So here’s my mama with a dilemma. There was an organization in town called the Birth Control League. Right around that time, they changed their name to Planned Parenthood. They passed out fliers, especially in African-American schools, saying, ‘A woman has the right to choose what she does with her body, and we can help you not have a lot of babies.’

“Now, abortion was not legal, but they advertised a procedure for a ‘serious female illness.’ They were having the doctors do a procedure called a D & C [dilation and curettage to clear the uterus].

“So mother had the flier, gave it to her mother, and, thank God, she said, ‘No, this doesn’t sound right. Let’s go talk to our pastor.’

“Our pastor was Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr., my granddaddy. He said, ‘They’re lying to you. That’s not a lump of flesh. That’s my granddaughter. I saw her in a dream three years ago. She has bright skin and bright red hair, and she’s going to bless many people.’

“So I was allowed to be born. They named me Alveda. Al is for Alfred—my daddy’s name is Alfred Daniel King. Veda means life. Now that was a family secret I only found out in 2005, all about how I came to be, although I always knew about my granddaddy’s dream. So I was not just a lump of flesh—I am a living dream.”

‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’

“Margaret Sanger [founder of Planned Parenthood] said colored people like me need to be exterminated. ‘But we don’t want the word to get out. So let’s cultivate some of their leaders’ [was Sanger’s thinking]. And the way they did that was with awards and grants and giving money to political parties and giving scholarships, teaching [African Americans] to promote that message [that Planned Parenthood is helpful], but they called it ‘family planning.’ They had to develop these terms so it looked like they were trying to cultivate [African-American] communities.

“So in 1966 they were going to cultivate a man named Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. They offered him the first-ever Margaret Sanger Award, along with some eugenicists.

“Martin Luther King did not attend the award ceremony. He did not write the speech. He did not write the thank you letter. It happened this way: His wife was pro-choice. So my Aunt Coretta went to the awards ceremony and read a speech that someone else wrote, and the thank-you letter was written by a secretary.

“Martin Luther King, Jr. said the Negro cannot win if he’s willing to sacrifice the future of his children for immediate personal comfort and safety. He said injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. That led me into the beginning of where I am today.”

‘That’s not a lump of flesh’

“I was walked down the aisle in 1969. My uncle [Martin Luther King, Jr.] was killed in 1968. Tragically, a week after my wedding, my daddy was killed—choked and thrown into a swimming pool. So I was without my daddy now, and my uncle. So the men who had been looking out for me were dead.

“Planned Parenthood was working full force in those days, passing out fliers, teaching a woman has a right to choose. I was ready to do something radical. So I fell for that, fell for the lies. So many women and men have been tricked, and so was I for a short time in my life.

“So I had two secret abortions. One, the doctor kind of made the decision for me and said I wasn’t ready for a baby, and did a D & C right there in his office, then referred me to Planned Parenthood.

“Then on Jan. 22, 1973, on my birthday, abortion became legal. That year, trying to reconcile a troubled marriage, I became pregnant. The doctors at Planned Parenthood said, ‘Don’t talk to your family. Don’t talk to your church. We’re your friends, and we’re going to give you this procedure.’

“By the mid-70’s, I was divorced, which is a sad thing. I was dating—not courting—and I was pregnant. I went to my granddaddy and told him I was going to have an abortion. I said the same thing to the baby’s daddy.

“This is what those two men said to me. First, the baby’s daddy—he was a medical student at the time—he said, ‘I’m a medical student. That’s not right. That’s 46 chromosomes—23 from me, and 23 from you, and I want mine brought to life.’

“Then I went to my granddaddy. He said, ‘Baby, they’re lying to you. That’s not a lump of flesh. That’s my great-granddaughter.’

“So women, it’s not true that a man has no say in the matter, because there are 46 chromosomes. And all babies are human beings. And because they’re human beings, they have civil rights, human rights.

“So for the first time in many years, the words I heard preached in my uncle’s church all through my youth began to make sense in a new way because of these two men talking to me about that child.

“So I had that baby. I had some challenges with my body by then because of all the pills, the shots and devices Planned Parenthood had passed out in my neighborhood.

“Through the mercy, grace and healing of God, I was able to have six live children. I have two in heaven and one miscarriage, and I have many grandchildren.”

‘I had a transformation in my heart’

“In 1983, the Scriptures began to come back to me, the words of my daddy and my great-granddaddy and my uncle began to come back to me.

“I had an experience like my Uncle Martin Luther had. He was at the dinner table one night, and at midnight he heard a knock on the door. And he heard Jesus say, ‘Martin Luther, stand up for truth and stand up for justice, and know I’ll never leave you until the end of the Earth.’

“I was born again in 1983, and no longer was it just my granddaddy saying that’s no lump of flesh or the daddy saying that’s 46 chromosomes. I had a transformation in my heart, and I repented of all my sins, including those abortions. And I became a different person.

“I was teaching at a college by then. In a law book I was using, there was a section called ‘Morals and Ethics Today.’ So for 15 of my 19 years teaching at that college, I would have my students write on ‘Morals and Ethics Today—Has It Gone Too Far?’

“A woman has a right to choose what to do with her body, but a baby is not her body. Where is the lawyer for the baby? How can our dreams survive if we kill our children? So that was the name of their school paper. And they had to debate both sides. And I know some of those students were saved because of that experience.

“As the time went on, at the end of the 90s I met [Priests for Life founder] Father Frank Pavone. I went to work for him at Priests for Life, but the first thing I did was get healing at [a] Rachel’s Vineyard [retreat]. That’s how I became the voice that people know today.

“The first thing we can do is to help save a life, and to support pro-life work through advocacy or research, or volunteering or donating, and everybody can pray.” †

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