King, Martin Luther - Family Planning ; A Special and Urgent Concern
Type of Spiritual Experience
In 1966, Planned Parenthood Federation of America inaugurated the PPFA Margaret Sanger Award to honour the woman who founded America's family planning movement. The PPFA Margaret Sanger Award is given annually to individuals of distinction in recognition of excellence and leadership in furthering reproductive health and reproductive rights.
In its first year, the award was bestowed upon four men:
- Dr. Carl G. Hartman, for "his singular contribution to human knowledge of the reproductive processes"
- General William H. Draper Jr., for "his singular contribution during the past decade to the mobilization of public awareness and government action to resolve the world population crisis"
- President Lyndon Baines Johnson, for "his vigorous and farsighted leadership in bringing the United States government to enunciate and implement an affirmative, effective population policy at home and abroad"
- The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., for "his courageous resistance to bigotry and his lifelong dedication to the advancement of social justice and human dignity"
Dr. King's award was presented on May 5, 1966. Mrs. Coretta Scott King delivered her husband's acceptance speech on his behalf. This is an extract.
A description of the experience
Family Planning - A Special and Urgent Concern by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Recently, the press has been filled with reports of sightings of flying saucers. While we need not give credence to these stories, they allow our imagination to speculate on how visitors from outer space would judge us.
I am afraid they would be stupefied at our conduct.
- They would observe that for death planning we spend billions to create engines and strategies for war.
- They would also observe that we spend millions to prevent death by disease and other causes.
- Finally they would observe that we spend paltry sums for population planning, even though its spontaneous growth is an urgent threat to life on our planet.
Our visitors from outer space could be forgiven if they reported home that our planet is inhabited by a race of insane men whose future is bleak and uncertain.
There is no human circumstance more tragic than the persisting existence of a harmful condition for which a remedy is readily available. Family planning, to relate population to world resources, is possible, practical and necessary. Unlike plagues of the dark ages or contemporary diseases we do not yet understand, the modern plague of overpopulation is soluble by means we have discovered and with resources we possess.
What is lacking is not sufficient knowledge of the solution but universal consciousness of the gravity of the problem and education of the billions who are its victims……………