From the Frontline: Notes from King’s Testimony

Tuesday, September 6th, pro-life activist Alveda King gave her personal testimony in support of life in Copley Formal. She is the niece of MLK and a prominent public figure.

In case you couldn’t make it to the event, or you want a refresher on what was said, here are the notes Richard Howell and Gabby Muñoz – RTL Media Co-Chairs – took that night.


  • Her grandmother was a single mother. Her mother became pregnant in college before she married A.D. King, the brother of Martin Luther King Jr.
  • She was conceived out of wedlock, though it was kept a family secret. She is thankful she was born and no other choices were made.
  • Family Values
    • Family values, previously, were stronger. Men were involved in the family, mothers were involved, and there were not many single families. Marriage and fidelity are important.
    • Divorce is tragic and hurts both the children and parents.
  • Birth Control Brigade (pre-planned parenthood)
    • “The Negro Project”sterilized young African-American women so they could ‘contribute’ to their community.
    • They offered information about anatomy and the reproductive system (sex ed).
    • They said that if there were any “mysterious female ailments” that a woman should come to them for a DNC, a euphemism for abortion that sometimes led to confusion. 
  • 1966 – Margaret Sanger (founder of Planned Parenthood)
    • She was well-known for saying “African Americans are like weeds, and they need to be exterminated.”
    • The “Margaret Sanger” award was offered to friends of the pro-choice movement.
    • They wanted to attract the African-American community, and MLK was offered the award.
    •  MLK accepted the award, yet had a pro-choice secretary write the speech and the acknowledgement/thank you, and he did not attend the ceremony. 
    • His wife was pro-choice and attended for him. MLK was pro-life, no matter how Planned Parenthood has tried to spin it.

Her Life

  • 1973 Alveda King had two secret abortions. One was performed without consent by overzealous doctors. It was an illegal abortion in 1970. She received her first legal abortion 1973.
    • 1970: At a regular 3 month medical check up, she asked her doctor if she was pregnant. He said that she didn’t need a baby and performed an abortion procedure without drugs and without her consent.
  • Later, in 1973, she had her first legal abortion.
    • She claimed, “I was sad and depressed” while struggling to continue a public life  as a senator and in Hollywood .
    • Pills, chemicals and an operation did damage to her cervix and mammary glands. She became depressed and spiritually and mentally destroyed after her abortions.
  • Mid 70s
    • No longer wanted abortions for herself but continued being pro-choice in that she didn’t want to force her beliefs on others.
  • Becoming pro-life
    • After the seeing her son on the ultrasound and giving birth, she realized life began inside the womb.
    • She realized, Planned Parenthood lied about it being a blob of cells. It was a small baby, and alive.
  • What is the most important aspect of advocating for life?
    • All aspects work together.
    • Inform, educate, and advocate for life.
    • Being compassionate to all parties involved is important.
  • Most divisive part of being involved in the movement?
    • Everyone in the movement believes they have the best approach and won’t work together.
  • What about her family’s work had inspired her?
    • Learned a lot from her father and uncle about the importance of determination and civil rights work. 
    • Her grandfather was very influential in her movement to the pro-life side.
    • She learned the power human personality from MLK.
  • Expanding access/education to contraceptives
    • She prefers natural family planning.
    • She thinks that there are ‘creative’ and ‘other ways’ for men and women to be intimate together that don’t necessitate contraception nor abortion.
    • She believes that contraceptives are often harmful for women.
    • She doesn’t believe that MLK would wish the possible harmful side effects of birth control and contraceptives on the women in his family.
  • Biggest danger to civil rights today?
    • Believing that there are actually races is very dangerous.
    • “We are the human race. We have ethnicities, but we are the human race.”
    • She believes we should celebrate our cultural differences and not be colorblind, but remember that we are all one human race in equality.
  • Best way to argue for life?
    • For her, personal testimony of experiences with abortion and civil rights is effective.
    • “Life is important…life is sacred. Period.”
  • Women’s empowerment v. pro-life
    • Having a child doesn’t physically stop you from doing your life.
    • She is a prime example because she had children and yet remained as active as ever.
    • “Women have the right to choose to do what they do with their bodies. That is undeniable. But that baby is not a part of her body, it is a baby!”
  • Women’s voice v. unborn child’s voice
    • Both should be equally valued, it is not a fight. Both are valuable and alive. 
    • “They should sing together in concert” .
    • They’re “interwoven in the fabric” of humanity.
    • “The baby is with the mother” Not a part of her. “The baby is not viable for two years. It cannot care for itself. Why not, while it is outside the womb but still not viable, abort?”
    • Abortion can be selfish, and too often we think only about ourselves.
  • These notes only capture a shadow of the wisdom and experience exhibited in the speech Ms. King delivered that night.You can read more about her work and organization here.

~Vita Saxa~

Gabriella Muñoz (COL ’18) and Richard Howell (SFS ’19)

RTL Media Co-Chairs, 2016-2017


One thought on “From the Frontline: Notes from King’s Testimony

  1. Pingback: In Defense of the Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life | GU Right to Life

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