Glenn Beck, Alveda King, and Reproductive Rights

Marjorie B. Signer

Even if you just wanted Glenn Beck and his over-publicized rally to go away, please take a minute to read what African American clergy, and civil rights and women's health leaders have to say. It's important.

Even if you just wanted Glenn Beck and his over-publicized rally to go away, please take a minute to read what African American clergy, and civil rights and women’s health leaders have to say. It’s important.

This past weekend, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) brought together leaders of the African American community to expose a little-noticed aspect of the Beck event – the attempt to use the legacy of the civil rights movement to undermine African American women’s reproductive rights. Alveda King figures prominently in this scheme – with her ludicrous charges of abortion as “black genocide” and her comparison of anti-choice activists to Freedom Riders.

That Beck held this event at the Lincoln Memorial, on the 47th anniversary of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech and the famous March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, is insulting to Americans of all races and religions who have worked for equality, unity, and inclusion. It is contrary to Dr. King’s ideals of justice, freedom, and respect for the dignity of all people. But there’s still more – it includes an offensive and harmful anti-woman anti-choice message (and you probably won’t read about this in the press, because they either don’t get it or don’t care).

The message about reproductive health conveyed at this event is connected to the “Right-to-Life” billboard/legislation campaign in Georgia that asserted that African American children are an ‘endangered species’ (and that SisterSong and its allies successfully crushed), and to Alveda King’s “Freedom Rides for the Unborn” (under the auspices of “Priests for Life”). Outrage over this campaign is growing in the African American community nationally as the billboards go up in new states and on-air ads begin. 

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To quote RCRC’s president, Reverend Dr. Carlton W. Veazey:

“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.”

The Religious Right has never been able to gain much support in African American communities, and it’s no wonder.

Read more about RCRC’s perspectives and our event at

As Reverend Veazey, said: 

“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.”

Or about women’s reproductive health.

It’s up to the pro-choice community to expose the “Religious Right’s” true motives in the African American community – to close clinics and ultimately to gain more support for ending legal abortion. It’s not to protect African American children.

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