by Steven Ertelt
September 26, 2007
Des Moines, IA (LifeNews.com) — Roosevelt High School officials are beginning to respond to criticism of its decision to cancel a speech there by a leading pro-life advocate. The Des Moines public school canceled a scheduled talk with pro-life advocate Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The former principal invited Dr. King to address students there but the new principal, Kathie Danielson, canceled the event.
On Wednesday, Danielson said she scrapped the talk because the parents of some of the students complained about her pro-life views.
Danielson said she thought the talk would be a good one for students to focus on diversity and race issues, but couldn’t let it go forward after pro-abortion parents complained.
She told the Des Moines Register newspaper that she examined King’s presentation beforehand and "quite a bit of it does talk about civil rights, but there is a connection to morals."
"It was scheduled to take place during the school day, cutting into class time, and we just thought it was best to cancel it," she said.
Surprisingly, the pro-abortion Iowa ACLU said the school was wrong to make the decision and representative Ben Stone told the Register that Danielson is doing a "disservice" because it makes the school appear to be shielding its students from various viewpoints on abortion.
Danielson "does the students of Roosevelt High School a disservice when she decides she must protect them from viewpoints that are controversial," Stone said.
"Alveda King was invited to speak, and telling her to stay away now is wrong, for it implies that the school is taking sides on the abortion issue, while at the same time depriving students of an opportunity to engage in this important moral topic," Stone said.
The brouhaha in what is the first presidential battleground already has one Republican presidential candidate crying foul.
Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback told LifeNews.com he thought Danielson was wrong to disinvite King.
"Defending the life of innocents is the most basic civil right, and I am proud to support Dr. Alveda King and her efforts on the pro-life issue, civil rights and helping people in need," Brownback said.
Kim Lehman, the director of Iowa Right to Life, called the cancellation a "civil rights shockwave" in comments she sent to LifeNews.com.
"Dr. King is an exceptional speaker with outstanding credentials, and yet they are not enough," Lehman said.
"Dr. King’s speech is being censored and the students at Roosevelt High will not hear her speak on civil rights, abstinence and abortion because the new principal says that a few parents complained," Lehman added.
Lehman told LifeNews.com King is also scheduled to speak on Wednesday at Iowa State University and on Thursday at Drake University.
King has explained that the new civil rights struggle has to do with abortion and how black Americans are becoming victims of abortion at higher rates than their white counterparts.
"In the last forty-plus years, 15 million black people have been denied their most basic civil right, the right to life," King noticed.
"Roughly one quarter of the black population is now missing," she reflected. "This hasn’t happened because of lynch mobs, but because of abortionists who plant their killing centers in minority neighborhoods and prey upon women who think they have no hope."
King said abortion is a "great irony" because it has decimated the African-American population in ways the Klu Klux Klan never could.
"It’s time that we remember the sacrifices of men like my father and my uncle who worked and died so that our children could live," King concluded. "It’s time to stop killing the future and keep their dream alive."
King regularly speaks at public schools and charges no speaking fee for her presentations.
ACTION: Contact Roosevelt High School and Principal Kathie Danielson with your thoughts. Call 515.242.7272 or email Mrs. Danielson at [email protected].