Glenn Beck, Alveda King - and Reproductive Rights
Reverend Carlton Veazey printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 05:36:53 PM EST
We are delighted to welcome Rev. Carlton Veazey's return as as a guest front pager. He is the longtime President and CEO of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. -- FC

The exclusionary values of the Glenn Beck rally at the Lincoln Memorial - on the 47th anniversary of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic "I Have a Dream" speech - are insulting to Americans of all races and religions who have worked for equality, unity, and inclusion. They are contrary to Dr. King's ideals of justice, freedom, and respect for the dignity of all people. But there's still more - the rally will include an offensive and harmful anti-woman anti-choice message.

This week, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) brought together leading African American clergy, civil rights activists and women's health experts to expose this little-noticed aspect of the Beck event - the misuse of the legacy of the civil rights movement to undermine African American women's reproductive rights. Alveda King figures prominently in this effort - with her ludicrous charges of abortion as "black genocide" and her leadership of something called "Freedom Rides for the Unborn."

Now, it goes without saying that the "Religious Right" and the Tea Party can hold a rally on the anniversary of a time that is sacred in our nation's march to equality, but there is no question that they are not - and never have been - concerned about the African American community or about the racism, poverty and injustice that Dr. King was dedicated to eradicating. That is why the Black community has consistently rejected their advances.

The "Right-to-Life" billboard campaign that started in Georgia and is spreading nationwide is the latest example of hypocrisy. The billboards - more than 60 were put up in the Atlanta area - asserted that African American children are an 'endangered species' and legislation was introduced to criminalize doctors who provided abortions for reasons of race - despite the fact there is absolutely no evidence of such a practice nor reason to believe it exists. Add to that Alveda King's comparison of anti-abortion activists to 'Freedom Riders' and you see the pattern - they want to convince African Americans there's a conspiracy to commit genocide, in the guise of reproductive health services.

These activities have sparked outrage in the African American community. Disparaging clinics that provide abortion, birth control and reproductive health services is harmful to individual women and to communities struggling with high rates of unintended pregnancy, teen births and HIV/AIDS. It insults the intelligence and values of African Americans and is offensive to women who make conscientious moral decisions about pregnancy.

Reverend Dr. Timothy McDonald, Pastor of First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta, who formerly served as the assistant minister of Ebenezer Baptist Church, Dr. King's church in Atlanta, and had close connections to Mrs. Coretta Scott King and others in the King family, pointed out that teen pregnancy in the African American community is often related to poverty. He urged the "Religious Right" to "walk the walk" and join with RCRC and other women's health and anti-poverty and anti-racism advocates to provide accurate information and services that enable women to make their own choices.

Alveda King and others on the "Religious Right" who want to rewrite history in the name of Dr. King should remember that Dr. King and Mrs. King supported family planning services to improve the lives of African American women aned families, he said. Dr. King was honored by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1966.

Jill Morrison, senior counsel in reproductive health and rights at the National Women's Law Center, characterized "Religious Right" claims that abortion in the African American community amounts to genocide as an "attempt to infantilize, dehumanize and objectify Black women under the guise of protecting the race."  Dr. Willie Parker, women's reproductive health provider and board member of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, asked that we "connect the dots" - "abortions come from unplanned unwanted pregnancies, which occur to poor women and women of color more frequently." Loretta Ross, national coordinator of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective, which led the successful effort to defeat the "Right to Life" campaign in Georgia, called claims of genocide "racist, sexist and anti-Semitic" and an affront to the millions who died in the Nazi Holocaust.

Watch "Right to Life" and Alveda King carefully. They may seem foolish - but they have money and political power behind them, and that's dangerous.  

Read more about the RCRC event at http://www.rcrc.org




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