The battleground over the Black woman’s womb escalates as two groups place billboards in Northern California.
The Radiance Foundation and the Issues 4 Life Foundation have launched a “Black and Beautiful” anti-abortion awareness and pro-adoption campaign throughout the Golden State. Thus far, 60 billboards have been placed throughout Oakland, a city that has a large African-American population. The groups are calling Planned Parenthood racist and say that they target abortions through school-clinics, where parents do not have to give consent or be notified.
“Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion chain, is a failure. They haven’t budged the national unintended pregnancy rate since 1995, but are relentlessly dedicated to increasing their annual share of abortions. They heavily advocate a singular ‘choice’ that feeds their $1 billion dollar taxpayer subsidized budget,” says Ryan Bomberger, co-founder of the Radiance. Bomberger is also the product of adoptive parents and is an adoptive father.
For more than 90 years, Planned Parenthood has opened its doors to people who may not have access to health services anywhere else. Planned Parenthood leads the nation in providing sexual and reproductive health care to millions of women across the U.S, many with low incomes or no health insurance. In addition to providing testing for HIV/AIDS, Planned Parenthood also offers testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), breast-cancer screenings and family planning. It’s no secret that the health care provider performs abortions; however, the number of pregnancy terminations is relatively small when compared to other available services.
“It’s a great myth that Planned Parenthood’s only intent is providing abortion care,” Lupe Rodriguez, director of public affairs, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte tells BET.com. “Over 97% of the services we provide are preventative healthcare services including contraceptives, cancer screenings, annual exams and sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment, and it really is for lower-income communities that don’t have access to health care."
Rodriguez oversees 33 heath centers serving 500,000 patients in northern California—including the areas in which the billboards exist.
“We find the billboards very reprehensible and very disrespectful, not only to the African-American community members that they are targeting, but to all women. We think that the billboards are using race as a wedge issue to deny all women to make important medical decisions.
California has the highest number of abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute. In June of 1967 abortions were legalized in the state through the Therapeutic Abortion Act of 1967. There were 518 legal abortions performed that year and in 2008, the latest year data is available, there were over 214,190 legal abortions performed in California. The abortion rate for Blacks is over three times that of the majority, and about 15 million African-American women have had abortions since 1973.
“The impact of abortion in the African-American community is the Darfur of America,” Walter B. Hoye II, president of the Issues4Life Foundation says.
The controversial billboards mirror those seen across the nation as a part of Life Always campaign: Planned Parenthood aborts African-Americans. They argue that the non-profit has placed 60 to 78 percent of their abortion clinics in minority neighborhoods. Life Always’ campaign billboard in New York read, “The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb.” It was taken down just one day after it was placed due to public outcry.