As festivities honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were just getting underway in the nation's capital on Monday morning, the conservative Fox News Channel hosted Alveda King, the civil rights leader's niece, for a segment that attempted to portray Dr. King as a Republican-leaning anti-abortion activist.
"You know, my uncle said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,'" she explained. "'The negro cannot win if he’s willing to sacrifice the futures of his children for immediate personal comfort and safety.' So that led me to say, a woman has a right to choose what she does with her body. The baby is not her body."
Alveda's characterization of her late uncle's activism is not new, nor is it correct. She has for some time now been a crusader for anti-abortion causes, insisting that Dr. King would have accepted that a fertilized embryo as a human endowed with full rights.
She's called herself a "reformed murderer" for having two abortions in her youth, and suggested that same sex marriage is akin to "genocide" due to the number of theoretical children that would not be born. And, she's a big fan of radio host Glenn Beck.
Despite her allegations, Dr. King was firmly in favor of family planning as a means of easing overpopulation and raising the standard of living for each individual. In 1966, he received the first ever Margaret Sanger award, an honor named after Planned Parenthood's founder. King was one of four recipients, along with President Lyndon Johnson.
Sanger, it should be noted, is often called racist by anti-abortion activists, who've launched in recent years a series of campaigns that portray abortion as a "black genocide."
In his acceptance speech, King praised Sanger for working with poor and minority communities to help ease the burden of unexpected pregnancies, calling it a "sensible" solution to the "cruel evil" of raising unwanted children.
"There is scarcely anything more tragic in human life than a child who is not wanted," he wrote. "That which should be a blessing becomes a curse for parent and child. There is nothing inherent in the Negro mentality which creates this condition. Their poverty causes it. When Negroes have been able to ascend economically, statistics reveal they plan their families with even greater care than whites. Negroes of higher economic and educational status actually have fewer children than white families in the same circumstances."
Dr. King also called the need for family planning and population control one of the core pillars of unity between black and white activists, saying their common bond makes them "natural allies" in the fight for the whole human race. He later wrote that the award was one of his "most cherished possessions," and professed that he wasn't worthy of it.
Fox News failed to mention any of this. Instead of providing accurate information to correct Alveda King's misstatements, the Fox & Friends morning program allowed King's niece to call the civil rights leader a "pro-life social conservative" who would have fought to force women in poverty to give birth to unwanted children.
"How can the dream survive if we murder our children?" she asked.
This video is from Fox News, broadcast Monday, Jan. 16, 2012.
Photo: Flickr user Ron Cogswell.