Sunday, November 13, 2011

TheCall Detroit: Alveda King Condemns Abortion

For an introduction to TheCall Detroit, click here. To read about an unidentified black man's speech, click here. To read about Lou Engle's anti-abortion speech, click here. To read about Judaism and Islam at TheCall Detroit, click here. For final thought on TheCall Detroit, click here. To access a full video archive of TheCall Detroit, click here

Thanks to the helpful camera work of Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out, several short videos from TheCall Detroit are available at YouTube. One video, which captures Alveda King's speech, illustrates how TheCall has tried to cultivate anti-abortion activism using racial justice rhetoric. Alevda King, the niece of Martin Luther King Jr., has worked with Priests for Life to promote anti-abortion activism, and has spoken at high-profile right-wing events.

First, Besen captured a video on one of the rally's wide screens from the National Black Pro-Life Coalition. Amidst upbeat music and fast-moving graphics, racially charged anti-abortion messages flashed across the wide screen.

"Black children are aborted at a rate 3 to 5 higher."

"In NYC due to Planned Parenthood 60% of all black pregnancies are aborted." 

"It's epidemic."

"Abortion never reduces poverty. Abortion never reduces healthcare disparities. Abortion never reduces unintended pregnancy rates. Abortion reduces US."

The origins of these statistics were not given, but the message was clear: TheCall was conflating abortion with the "epidemic" reduction of the African American population. This racially charged anti-abortion message set the mood for Alveda King's talk, which touched upon race, activism, abortion, and Jesus.

King spoke at length about race and slavery, touching upon the enslavement of Africans, the work of William Wilberforce, and the activism of Martin Luther King Jr. She also spoke of how her father "rescued" her from abortion in 1950, dissuading her mother from seeing an abortion. At the 4:29 mark, she described how her father and partner changed her mind about abortion.

"Even thought I had two secret abortions in the 1960s and 70s, and a miscarriage due to the ravages of sin and secrets, God did not give up on me. In the mid-1970s, Daddy King and the father of the fifth child I was carrying convinced me spiritually, scientifically, medically and socially was truly a human being, entitiled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
I was unaware that King had sought out abortions as a young woman, and I was unhappy that she sought to deny other women a medical procedure that she had secured for herself. I was also unsure how to interpret her comment about her miscarriage. However, in a commentary at the Priests for Life website, King claimed that the miscarriage resulted from complications from her previous abortions, which explains why she attributed it to "the ravages of sin and secrets."

At the 6:00 mark, King condemned racism and emphasized that humanity is one family in Jesus.
"This litle girl who is part Irish, part African, and part Native American is standing before you today to bear witness of Acts 17:26, that of one blood, God made all people to live on earth in a beloved community, and one day, to live in eternity with him, so we are one human race, not separate races. Racism is the spawn of the [inaudible] lie. We are one human family in need of the blood of Jesus."
At the 7:23 mark, King delivered a prayer, heavily laden with anti-abortion rhetoric.
"Jesus, come in against the lie of abortion, eugenics, genocide, euthanasia, and all that would destroy abundant life that our lord and master Jesus promised us. We bind murder in the womb, we bind sexual immorality, we bind idolatry. We choose life in Jesus' name."
King's mention of abortion, eugenics, and genocide in the same breath was not accidental.  Claims of eugenics and racial genocide have been common tropes in anti-abortion rhetoric, with Maafa 21, the 8:18 Movement, and last year's high-profile billboard campaign as examples.

King's talk was but one of many examples of TheCall Detroit performing outreach to diverse racial audiences. As I'll discuss later this week, TheCall Detroit also included a Native American musical performance, as well as talks by Arab and African American speakers. Stay tuned!


  1. It's a hot topic here where I live...they've killed abortion doctors, picket the clinics and try to oppose their will upon people any way they can. I remain a steadfast ProChoice supporter and can't understand how people claiming to be ProLife can be violent to the point of taking a life to make a point. It just doesn't make sense to me, but then again not much makes sense to me when it comes to religious fanatics.

  2. Mildred -- It's a hot topic in my region too, particularly since Dr. Carhart began performing late-term abortions in Maryland.

    These attempts to recruit people of color into anti-abortion activism just seem so ... crass.

  3. It's a shame Mrs. King doesn't realize just how different her life would have been had she not had those abortions. If she was truly leading that much of a sinful life as she implies, chances are that her parenting of those children would have been inadequate to raise them right, and she probably would not have the children she now has, which I am sure she loves and would not trade for anything.

  4. Wise Fool -- Precisely. It's easy to condemn abortion AFTER you've benefitted from it.

  5. It's always amazing to me how these vitriolic anti-abortion types condemn social programs (and are trying to eliminated them!) designed to help children born into abject poverty -- oftentimes because abortion was not an option for their mothers, who in many cases are ignorant about and don't have access to effective birth control -- thanks to the "righteous" anti-abortionists.

    Ensuring these children have access to adequate health care is also condemned by the zealots as a "socialistic evil." And they will be the first to scream for the death penalty when these kids get caught up in a life of crime.


  6. Cognitive Dissenter -- It's hard to take them seriously when they show more concern for fetuses than post-womb children in poverty.


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