Today, we honor a man whose words agitated, illuminated, inspired and liberated millions. Martin Luther King Jr. was a civil rights warrior with weapons, not of blade or bullet, but of ideas. In 2012 those ideas are spoken by many, yet followed by few. We’re still obsessed with the hue of our skin, while ignoring the more valuable substance that lies within. Some call it “judging a book by its cover”. We’ve all done it, many times to our own embarrassment.
Martin Luther King Jr. was no different. He became enamored with the façade of Planned Parenthood and its glossy cover of family planning and the false assurance of eliminating poverty. Birth control promised equality. It failed. Instead, the divide that King fought so passionately to mend became a chasm filled with communities ravaged by out-of-wedlock births, exponentially high STD/HIV rates, and rampant fatherlessness.
I am grateful, beyond words, for King’s tireless efforts to elevate humanity. His ultimate sacrifice, his very life, reminds me that there are things worth dying for. I know our collective memories of America’s civil rights champions are sacrosanct. But extraordinary people like Martin Luther King Jr. are not omniscient. They were, and are, quite fallible.
Little did Martin Luther King Jr. know that his words (or arguably Coretta Scott King’s) in 1966, immortalized in ink and praising Planned Parenthood, would literally turn blood-red.
Planned Parenthood, the nation’s number one killer of African-Americans (more die by abortion than all other causes of death combined), boasts of King’s support at the 1966 inauguration of the Margaret Sanger Award. Abortion wasn’t legal then and married couples adorned the covers of Planned Parenthood’s printed propaganda.
In an advice column he wrote for Ebony magazine, from 1957-1958, King recognized the wrong of abortion in a response to a young man who compelled his girlfriend to the crime. He advised, in part: “One can never rectify a mistake until he admits that a mistake has been made.”
Taking cues from his own advice, supporting Planned Parenthood was King’s mistake. There are disturbing questions that have to be asked, such as “How much did MLK know about this eugenics-birthed organization?” Surely he knew that its founder, Margaret Sanger, prided herself in speaking before the KKK on behalf of her organization’s mission. Did he know about the failed Negro Project? He had to be aware that the president of Planned Parenthood, during the time he accepted the award (via his wife, Coretta), was Alan Guttmacher, former Vice President of the irrefutably racist American Eugenics Society. Certainly he knew eugenicists were forcibly sterilizing women, disproportionately black across the country, which involved many Planned Parenthood affiliates. Did he not know that all of the peaceful protests, sit-ins, and boycotts in the South were aimed at eugenics-based Jim Crow laws?
Or was he, like many others, too fixed on that glossy cover to turn the page and find out what was inside?
Sadly, his lack of awareness of Planned Parenthood spurred on an even more insidious injustice than that which he challenged with such spiritual fervor. We honor a great man while acknowledging he wasn’t always right. Abortion is now epidemic in the black community. In New York City, abortion occurs 5.8 times more among blacks than whites. Sixty percent of all black pregnancies in NYC, the home of Planned Parenthood, end in abortion. It is epidemic. This certainly isn’t the “dream” MLK spoke of, but a nightmare reality that feeds the abortion industry’s bottom line.
Planned Parenthood commits heinous injustice every single day. When the nation’s largest abortion chain invokes King’s name, to justify the slaughter of over 1.21 million innocent lives each year, it mocks the sacrifice of one who fought, and died, for human dignity.
Martin Luther Kings Jr’s words from decades ago still ring powerfully true: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere!”
*Video produced by The Radiance Foundation