King’s Niece: Planned Parenthood “lying about my Uncle Martin”

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AlvedaPro-life activist Alveda King, niece of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., says Planned Parenthood Federation of America is wrong to champion her uncle as a supporter of the organization’s abortion rights agenda.

“Sometimes I wonder if Planned Parenthood will ever get tired of lying about my Uncle Martin, and then I remind myself that a business built on the lie that a baby isn’t a baby is a stranger to the truth,” King says. “There’s no way Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., were he alive today, would support an organization that has helped destroy one-quarter of the African American population.”

King is director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life, a Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion. She has been criticized for “besmirching” Dr. King’s legacy and for appearing as a featured speaker at last August’s “Rally to Restore Honor,” organized in Washington, D.C., by conservative talk show host Glen Beck.

Her statements come amid stepped up legal efforts by anti-abortionists to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion nationwide. King insists that her uncle would find Planned Parenthood’s current agenda “repugnant” were he alive today, saying that in the 1960s, Planned Parenthood had not yet “mutated ‘reproductive rights’ into child-killing.” 

In 1966, the late civil rights leader was one of four recipients of Planned Parenthood’s inaugural Margaret Sanger Award, named after the woman who founded the country’s family planning movement. In an acceptance speech delivered by his wife, Coretta Scott King, Dr. King hailed family planning as “possible, practical and necessary” when “the modern plague of overpopulation” is related to the world’s resources.

For Black people in America, he added, “intelligent guides of family planning are a profoundly important ingredient in his quest for security and a decent life. There are mountainous obstacles still separating Negroes from a normal existence. Yet one element in stabilizing his life would be an understanding of and easy access to the means to develop a family related in size to his community environment and to the income potential he can command. This is not to suggest that the Negro will solve all his problems through Planned Parenthood. His problems are far more complex, encompassing economic security, education, freedom from discrimination, decent housing and access to culture. Yet if family planning is sensible it can facilitate or at least not be an obstacle to the solution of the many profound problems that plague him.”
 
Planned Parenthood describes itself as “the nation’s leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate.” This year, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 17, Cecile Richards, the organization’s president, issued a statement that focused more on health care reform in the context of Dr. King’s call for equity in health care, rather than on the contentious issue of abortion.  

“In 1966, Planned Parenthood presented Dr. King with the PPFA Margaret Sanger Award, the organization’s highest honor, in recognition of his excellence and leadership in furthering reproductive health and rights,” Richards said. “Martin Luther King Jr. Day serves as a reminder of how much we have accomplished and how much we have yet to achieve. Making affordable health care available to all Americans will ensure that Dr. King’s dream of health care justice is fulfilled.”