“Pro-Life Billboard Stirs up Controversy in SoHo (New York City).”
If you read this headline while browsing the internet or reading the paper, what would cross your mind? I would wager that you would imagine graphic photos of aborted babies. There would be lots of blood and identifiable body parts that had obviously been torn asunder. Even many of the most ardent pro-lifers discourage others from showing such images. But in this case you would have guessed incorrectly. For the billboard in question has a photo of a beautiful young black girl.
“Then why the controversy?” you might ask. Because the billboard also contains the following message: “The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb.” And that’s the problem, at least in the eyes of many who regard abortion as a woman’s greatest right. But wait. There’s another reason why the ad is so “egregious.” Can you guess? That’s right. The ad is also racist. Ah, where would American society be without that wonderful word? It does so much to open up meaningful dialogue between various races.
Okay, enough sarcasm. Let’s take a closer look at the ad and the accusation of racism. The pro-life organization behind it is Texas-based Life Always. Its board chose to release the ad during Black History Month. Their purpose was to show the devastating effect of abortion on the black community and, in their own words, “to expose the truth about how Planned Parenthood targets minority neighborhoods as they perform over 300,000 abortions a year.” Pastor Stephen Broden, the founder of Life Always, adds, “We believe that with more information our community can make the right choice in pushing back on the unfettered access that Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry has on our community.”A supporter of the group, Reverend Michael Faulkner of the New Horizon Church, said, “When I look at the percentage of death by abortion in the black community, 13 percent of the population, 36 percent of the abortion rate nationwide. . . that causes me to be ill.”
Two white guys pointing the finger at black women? Nope. Both men are black. Hard to hang the racist albatross around their necks. Then perhaps the company that designed the ad, The Radiance Foundation, had a racist intent. Sorry. That won’t work, either. The chief creative officer of the company is Ryan Scott Bomberger, a black gentleman whose mother was raped but chose to give him life, an act of selflessness that has inspired him to fight the culture of death, particularly in the black community. Another albatross with nowhere to go.
Well, then, perhaps the message in the ad is simply a lie and, therefore, defames the black community. Let’s see. A recent study in New York City indicated that 60% of conceived black children are aborted. If there are two million blacks in the city, then it’s safe to assume that thousands of black babies are aborted there each year. Nationally, black women are five times more likely to abort than white women. Furthermore, the Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of Planned Parenthood, reports that 1,784 black children are aborted each day in America. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that their 2005 survey (the most recent year completed) showed that 203,991 black children were killed by abortion. (This is a conservative number since several large states did not report their data.) That same year, 198,385 blacks died from either heart disease, cancer, strokes, accident, diabetes, homicide, or chronic lower respiratory disease.So, it seems rather obvious that the womb is the most dangerous place for an unborn black child.
Then how about Planned Parenthood? Was the organization maliciously smeared? Was Pastor Broden wrong to insinuate that Planned Parenthood targets black and other minority communities and that a de facto black genocide is taking place? Reverend Clenard Howard Childress, Jr., founder and director of the Life Education and Resource Network (L.E.A.R.N.), states that 78% of all Planned Parenthood centers are in minority communities. According to the Network’s website, Blackgenocide.org, no one has refuted the accuracy of this percentage. Also, keep in mind that Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger said, “Colored people are like weeds and need to be exterminated.” And recent evidence reveals that several Planned Parenthood centers are apparently not particularly concerned about underaged minority girls being exploited and forced into prostitution. Oh, just in case you were wondering, Reverend Childress is a black man.
There’s one other point I need to address. As I alluded to in the first paragraph, many of us in the pro-life movement have been told to avoid using graphic photos of aborted babies; that such an approach may turn people against the cause. Well, the truth of the matter is that it’s the message itself that irritates the pro-death crowd, not the photos. Even if you put the face of a lovely black child on a billboard, if the message is pro-life, it must be condemned. So, if you’re inclined, go ahead and show the photos, for each one is worth a thousand words, and the unborn have no voice of their own.
Footnote: The message on the New York billboard was taken down early because of threats to the occupants of the building where the sign hung and because the ubiquitous Al Sharpton planned a demonstration at the site. Apparently, freedom of speech was aborted.