Commentary

Martin Luther King Jr’s Niece vs. Obama

I was struck by this headline on LifeNews.com on Sept. 26: “Poll: Obama’s Abortion Record Hurts Him in Battleground States.”

Why? As I’ve written previously, the reason now that “a majority of swing voters (54 percent) are less likely to vote for President Obama” in crucial states is “after learning that he voted against a law (three times as an Illinois state senator) to give equal treatment and constitutional protections to babies born alive after a failed abortion (35 percent much less likely)” (Steven Ertelt, LifeNews.com, Sept. 26).

The poll was carried out by the polling company, inc./WomanTrend and, significantly, was authorized by one of the nation’s most influential pro-life organizations, the Susan B. Anthony List.

Anthony was a major force in having finally enabled, after her death, the ultimate passage of the 19th Amendment, permitting women to vote. And in 1876, on learning that her sister-in-law had had an abortion, Anthony wrote in her diary, “She will rue the day she forces nature” (“Susan Palin Is No Susan B. Anthony,” Ann Gordon and Lynn Sherr, newsweek.washingtonpost.com, May 21, 2010).

The president of the Susan B. Anthony List, Marjorie Dannenfelser, makes what may turn out to be a crucial point: “Today’s poll confirms: Pro-life voters make up a sizable voting bloc capable of achieving victory in close elections” (“New Poll Reveals Swing Voters Repelled by Obama’s Extreme Abortion Record,” sba-list.org, Sept. 26).

In any case, the president left absolutely no doubt of his passionate dedication to abortion when, as an August Washington Times headline clearly stated, he assured a meeting of liberal bloggers in New York City that he wouldn’t “give ‘any ground’ on abortion rights” (“Obama to women bloggers: I won’t give ‘any ground’ on abortion rights,” Susan Crabtree, washingtontimes.com, Aug. 2, 2012).

Among those with a determinedly opposite view is Alveda C. King, an influential force among our nation’s many strong pro-life women. She is the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and works for Roman Catholic organization Priests for Life as its pastoral associate and director of African-American Outreach.

She speaks and writes with direct, penetrating clarity and is not intimidated by forceful personages whom she thinks need educating about abortion when she often says:

“How can the dream survive if we murder our children?”

Here she is quoted in a 2007 Priests for Life press release: “Rev. (Al) Sharpton says he’s concerned about the dignity of African-American women; so am… I would suggest to Rev. Sharpton that he look at the greatest assault on the dignity of black women today — abortion. We are three to four times more likely to have abortions as white women” (“Dr. Alveda King to Rev. Al Sharpton: ‘Look at the Greatest Assault on the Dignity of Black Women,’” priestsforlife.org, July 13, 2007).

On May 26, in remarks before the World Congress of Families VI in Madrid (“The World’s Largest Gathering of Pro-Family Leaders, Scholars and Activists”), King said:

“I stand before you as part of the greatest civil rights struggle facing the world in the 21st century — the battle to end discrimination against the unborn… Blacks in the 1950s and babies in the womb today were and are considered to be less than fully human …

“Now, you may have heard that pro-lifers in the United States have been successful in passing state laws that give a pregnant woman the right to view an ultrasound image of her baby before an abortion. The culture of death is opposing these laws with all their might. They know the power of an image…

“Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life in the United States, always says, ‘America will not reject abortion until America sees abortion.’ It’s harder to kill a baby than a blob of tissue. And the culture of death knows this.”

Turning to the late Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood (before which President Obama has approvingly appeared), King said of this icon of pro-abortion feminists:

“When she said she wanted more children from the fit and fewer children from the unfit, it didn’t take much imagination to figure out what she meant. I’ll just say that I don’t think she would have wanted me, and African-American women, to have more children.”

Alveda C. King has six children.

Before the World Congress of Families, Martin Luther King Jr.’s forthright niece came to her deadly point: “Since 1973, 14 million black babies have been aborted in the United States. That’s one-third of the current number of blacks in the U.S. It’s as if a plague swept through black neighborhoods and killed one of every four people. That plague was real, though, and it came in the form of abortion clinics.”

Whether or not Barack Obama is re-elected president, I’d love to see him debate King on how abortion has affected black Americans. Anyway, with the election almost upon us, King did comment on Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention, saying, “She looked beautiful and proves that she’s nearly as much a consummate skilled politician as her husband.”

But Alveda C. King could not resist adding — as emblazoned in the headline of her press release — “She almost makes you forget that her husband supports killing babies …” (“Mrs. Obama Almost Makes You Forget That Her Husband Supports Killing Babies and Killing Natural Marriage. Almost… ’ Says Alveda King,” christiannewswire.com, Sept. 5).

But as impressed as she was by the first lady, King did not forget those deaths for a second, nor will those black Americans on the Susan B. Anthony List who are “less likely” to vote for Obama because of the most indomitably insistent civil rights conflagration of our time.

I am not a black American, but King speaks for me too. She recalls that her legendary uncle and her father, the Rev. A.D. King, “were often called ‘the sons of thunder!’”

For some of us pro-lifers of all backgrounds, Alveda C. King reverberates loud and strong against killers of babies.

Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights. He is a member of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and the Cato Institute, where he is a senior fellow.