Unfinished Business

Inside the Vatican magazine has named Dr. Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Pastoral Associate of Priests for Life, as one of the Top Ten People of 2007. She has become one of the leading voices for the unborn in America and in the world.

This award is a sign of the times and a sign of developments in the pro-life movement. African-Americans are finding their voice on this issue. While, for decades pro-life leaders have asked how to "get African-Americans involved in the pro-life movement," the more precise question is, "How do we encourage African-Americans to take up their own leadership of the pro-life movement, recognizing that this movement belongs to them as much as to anyone else?"

On Martin Luther King Day of 2007, I was privileged to proclaim the New Testament reading at the national observance of the holiday at the King Center in Atlanta, GA. Speaker after speaker declared that there is "unfinished business" regarding the dream of Dr. King, because various forms of inequity and injustice continue to affect the Black community and society generally. This is true and must be addressed.

Yet so many forget the "unfinished business" of restoring protection to unborn children, and ending the violence of abortion. Alveda asks the poignant question, "How can the dream survive if we murder the children? If the Dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is to live, our babies must live."

 Many black leaders are awakening to how abortion is devastating their communities. Black women are more than three times as likely as white women to have an abortion. Although black women constitute only 6% of the population, they comprise 36% of the abortion industry's clientele. On average, 1,452 black babies are aborted every day in the United States. The leading abortion providers have placed over 90% of their abortuaries in urban neighborhoods with high black populations.

Alveda declares confidently that her uncle Martin would be marching for life with us were he alive today. He did not only stand for the equality of the Black man. He stood for the equality of every human being.

On Christmas of 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. preached the following words: "Now let me say that the next thing we must be concerned about if we are to have peace on earth and good will toward men is the nonviolent affirmation of the sacredness of all human life. Every man is somebody because he is a child of God…Man is more than a tiny vagary of whirling electrons or a wisp of smoke from a limitless smoldering. Man is a child of God, made in His image, and therefore must be respected as such…And when we truly believe in the sacredness of human personality, we won't exploit people, we won't trample over people with the iron feet of oppression, we won't kill anybody."

February is Black History Month. Let's honor that history by learning how to strive for equal justice for all, including the unborn.

Fr. Frank Pavone


Father Frank A. Pavone is an American Roman Catholic priest and pro-life activist. He is the National Director of Priests for Life and serves as the Chairman and Pastoral Director of Rachel's Vineyard.

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  • Guest


      It is quite obvious that abortion has a racist agenda. It targets Blacks and other minorities (as well as the poor) because their abortion numbers are far above their percentage of the population. Why do Black politicians support this destruction of their own race? Politicians who claim to be "Christian" or "Catholic" are not truthful if they support the killing of these millions of helpless babies. Abortion does harm to the women as well. The presidential candidates must be challenged to support life, because without life, there are no other rights or freedoms to be experienced, and "the economy" does nothing for those who have been "screened out" from life.

  • Guest

    Perhaps Dr. Martin Luther King had a change of heart over the course of one year. The previous year, 1966, saw Dr. King enthusiatically accepting the Planned Parenthood Federation's coveted "Margaret Sanger Award."

    PPFA recognized Dr. King for, among other things, his work in the black community to promote "family planning." Said Dr. King:

    Some commentators point out that with present birth rates it will not be long before Negroes are a majority in many of the major cities of the nation. As a consequence, they can be expected to take political control, and many people are apprehensive at this prospect. Negroes do not seek political control by this means. They seek only what they are entitled to and do not wish for domination purchased at the cost of human misery. Negroes were once bred by slave owners to be sold as merchandise. They do not welcome any solution which involves population breeding as a weapon. They are instinctively sympathetic to all who offer methods that will improve their lives and offer them fair opportunity to develop and advance as all other people in our society…

    For these constructive movements we are prepared to give our energies and consistent support; because in the need for family planning, Negro and white have a common bond; and together we can and should unite our strength for the wise preservation, not of races in general, but of the one race we all constitute — the human race.

    Today's African American community and leadership give no indication of wavering from Dr. King's PPFA philosophy of "better living through [artificial contraception]."

    PPFA has long been on record as including abortion among it's many sinister "family planning" options. In other words, if one contraceptive method fails (the pill) there's always the fallback method (abortion). Dr. King said a lot of things about love, charity, human dignity, etc. but what is there to indicate his views on abortion would differ from those of his admirers in PPFA? King himself was something of an admirer of Margaret Sanger, founder of PPFA, if we are to believe his comments in his acceptance speech for the award given to him in her name:

    There is a striking kinship between our movement and Margaret Sanger's early efforts. She, like we, saw the horrifying conditions of ghetto life. Like we, she knew that all of society is poisoned by cancerous slums. Like we, she was a direct actionist — a nonviolent resister. She was willing to accept scorn and abuse until the truth she saw was revealed to the millions[comment: It's the "truth" she failed to see that has led to the wholesale destruction of millions]. At the turn of the century she went into the slums and set up a birth control clinic, and for this deed she went to jail because she was violating an unjust law. Yet the years have justified her actions. She launched a movement which is obeying a higher law to preserve human life under humane conditions. Margaret Sanger had to commit what was then called a crime in order to enrich humanity, and today we honor her courage and vision; for without them there would have been no beginning. Our sure beginning in the struggle for equality by nonviolent direct action may not have been so resolute without the tradition established by Margaret Sanger and people like her. Negroes have no mere academic nor ordinary interest in family planning. They have a special and urgent concern.

    With all due respect to Dr. Alveda King, she's going to have to contend with the ghost of Margaret Sanger before many Americans will be convinced that Dr. King would have become an outspoken opponent of abortion.

    The full text of the Rev. Martin Luther King's acceptance speech can be found here:


  • Guest

    I  met Alveda King when she spoke briefly during a fund raiser for Room at the Inn in Charlotte several years ago.  Fr Pavone was the keynote speaker. She was affable and humble.  I feel honored to have spent several minutes talking to her.(It was the first time I'd heard of her)

    That said, I do believe what dennis……is saying.  I know MLK was an adulterer and a mysogynist.  He also was a communist at heart.  (I don't know about card carrying).  We all know that communism is atheist.  

    I find it hard to believe that while ALL of MLK past supporters are now pro abortion, that HE would be prolife.

    While it is possible to celebrate his contributions, it is improper to canonize him.  After all, adultery, contraception, abortion and hell all go together. God is the just judge.  He knows the truth despite what we want to believe.


    PS there is plenty of documentation for what I'm saying.  I'm not posting links here though. 

  • Guest

    Very true, Elkabrikir.  He does not deserve to be canonized.  He played an important role in reducing racism, but he had many faults.  I see a pattern with men who have charisma;  it goes to their head (especially when they have all these women worshiping them).

  • Guest

    Can anyone spell "OBAMA" ?