A controversial anti-abortion billboard in SoHo is being taken down, just days after it was put up. The billboard is three stories tall and is funded by the Dallas-based group Life Always. It read, “The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb.” The phrase sparked outrage from local politicians to the mother of the girl depicted in the ad.
The executive director of the Women of Color Policy Network at New York University, Nicole Mason, said her organization had been calling and e-mailing the billboard company demanding the ad be removed.
“What the billboard does is simplify issues — it doesn’t take into account that choosing to terminate a pregnancy is a difficult decision regardless of race,” Mason said.
According to Life Always leader, Pastor Stephen Broden, who is African-American, the billboard was intended to cause a reaction.
“The black community is oblivious to what is going on with this practice,” Broden, 58, said about abortion rates in the African-American community. “This is far from hyperbole, these are facts and statistically back up that abortion is having an impact on the demography of African-Americans,” he said.
According to New York City’s latest Vital Statistics report with data from 2009, two out of five pregnancies in New York City end in an abortion, giving the city an overall abortion rate of 41 percent. Among black women in New York City, the abortion rate is reportedly 59.8 percent, while the abortion rate for Hispanic women is 41.3 percent and the rate for white women is 20.4 percent. The rate for abortions among Asian women in New York is 22.7 percent.
Tricia Fraser, the mother of Anissa Fraser, 6, who is pictured on the ad, had also asked that the ad be removed.
“It’s bad enough you’re saying this about African Americans, but then you put a child with an innocent face,” Fraser told MyFox New York.
The billboard was supposed to stay up for three weeks but Thursday night the Lamar billboard company announced the ad was coming down saying “We thought it was in the best interest of the neighborhood to take down the ad as soon as possible.” Lamar’s general manager was concerned about violence resulting from the billboard.
The ad was removed within hours. The decision has been widely praised.
Photo credit: DNAinfo.com