I understand the pro-life community trying to wrap itself in the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., and it is even more powerful when a member of the deceased civil rights leader’s family does it. Priests for Life reports:
Dr. Alveda King, full-time Director of African American Outreach for Priests for Life and niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said today that advice columns written by her uncle for Ebony magazine in 1957-58 reveal a man who today would be regarded as a social conservative.
“In advising men and women on questions of personal behavior 50 years ago, Uncle Martin sounded no different than a conservative Christian preacher does now,” said Dr. King. “He was pro-life, pro-abstinence before marriage, and based his views on the unchanging Word of the Bible. Today, Planned Parenthood would condemn Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as part of the ‘religious right.’”
In advice columns written for the African American-oriented magazine, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told a young man who had impregnated his girlfriend and refused to marry her, resulting in a “crime,” that he had made a “mistake.” He urged another reader to abstain from premarital sex, noting that such activity was contributing “to the present breakdown of the family.”
The full story is here. Problem is, I don’t think the facts support this conclusion. Whatever King thought and said in the 1950s, by the mid-1960s, he was a fully paid-up member of The Left. Far from Planned Parenthood condemning Martin Luther King, in 1966 they gave him their Margaret Sanger Award, noting:
Resisting bigotry, inspiring women and men worldwide, and advancing social justice and human dignity, he also lent his eloquent voice to the cause of worldwide voluntary family planning. Both he and Margaret Sanger challenged unjust laws, cruel social customs, and blind prejudice that still hold people in ignorance, poverty, and despair. Mrs. Coretta Scott King delivered her husband’s acceptance speech on his behalf, saying, “There is a striking kinship between our movement and Margaret Sanger’s early efforts. … Our sure beginning in the struggle for equality by non-violent direct action may not have been so resolute without the tradition established by Margaret Sanger and people like her.”
This may be a little unfair, but I have little doubt that had he lived to see Roe v. Wade, he would have supported abortion-on-demand eventually — as almost every so-called civil rights leader did (see Jesse Jackson), regardless of its effect on the black population. It may seem a natural progression to move from defending the civil rights of blacks in the 1950s and 1960s to defending the human rights of the unborn afterward, but that is generally not what happened. And considering that he was already attuned to the (im)moral Left’s position on birth control, there is every reason to believe MLK would have followed the same ideological trajectory as his comrades in arms.