|Courtesy of Life Always|
A pro-life billboard in New York City has sparked a controversy about abortion among black women. The ad, similar to billboards erected in Augusta last year, depicts a happy young black girl. The message emblazoned above her head reads “The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb.” The billboard also gives the web address thatsabortion.com, a division of Life Always.
The billboard debuted last month in New York for Black History Month before being displayed in other cities. Although the N.Y. billboard has been torn down, new ones have been recently placed in Chicago and St. Louis. The Augusta billboards were placed by different groups, The Radiance Foundation and Georgia Right to Life.
In both cases, the billboards are meant to highlight what Life Always founder Stephen Broden says is “a genocidal plot is carried out through abortion.”
Specifically, the billboards draw attention to the fact that black babies are aborted at a much higher rate than whites. In December 2010, New York’s health department released figures that almost 60% of black pregnancies resulted in abortion. The rate was 41% for all pregnancies. Nationally, according to the Guttmacher Institute, black women get 30% of abortions even though blacks make up only 13% of the population. In Georgia, black women get 58% of abortions. This makes Georgia the leading state for black abortions.
Atlanta native and black pro-life activist Alveda King said, “Black people in New York and all over the country should be outraged at the numbers of black babies we lose every single day to abortion. An astonishing 60 percent of African-American pregnancies in the five boroughs of New York City end in abortion. That’s unfathomable!”
New York’s public advocate, Bill de Blasio, said, “The ad violates the values of New Yorkers and is grossly offensive to women and minorities.” He continued, “A mix of intolerance and bad judgment put this ad up. Common decency demands it be taken down.”
King, who is the daughter of Alfred Daniel King and niece of Martin Luther King, further stated, “It is an outrageous act of censorship that this billboard was taken down. This billboard should be posted in every city of the country. And it should provoke outrage in the African-American community-not because it is racist, but because of the truth it reveals; the truth that is being kept from the African-American community.”
It seems that a difference between pro-life and pro-choice groups is that pro-lifers are offended and angered by the death of thousands of babies of all colors. On the other hand, pro-choicers are offended when the horrible statistics about abortion are brought to light. It is a question of defending the lives of actual babies or the consciences of abortionists.
The tactic of attempting to silence pro-life groups is not new. In the past, the government has used RICO laws to limit free speech of anti-abortion protesters. This mirrors the attempts to intimidate and drive speech supporting traditional marriage and anything deemed critical of homosexuality from the public forum. Rather than defending their positions in a public debate proponents of abortion and same-sex marriage are too often trying to stifle debate. They do this by intimidation, name-calling and, in this case, removing the pro-life message from the billboard. Freedom of speech and expression is not the only area in which liberals are inconsistent when it comes to abortion.
|Courtesy of Life Always|
The controversy over the billboard also included the girl’s family, which allegedly told a N.Y. city councilwoman that the girl’s picture was used for a purpose other than what they were told. Life Always said that the picture was purchased from Getty Images. Getty Images said that they had a model release for the girl on file.
The controversy is likely to continue. A new billboard design from Life Always recalls a Super Bowl ad that was rejected a few years ago. It depicts a likeness of President Obama says, “every 21 minutes, our next possible leader is aborted.” President Obama was not the result of a planned pregnancy and the future president was raised by a single mother and her family.
Life Always has not yet responded to a query about whether they will place the billboards in the Atlanta area, but given Georgia’s status as a top provider of abortions for black women it is likely that Georgians may soon see the controversial signs along local highways.