Attempts by a coalition of pro-choice groups to take down 60 anti-abortion billboards erected deliberately in Black Oakland, California, neighborhoods are still ongoing. The groups are telling a firm that works with the billboards' owner that the signs are offensive and racist.
Two anti-abortions organizations, the Issues4Life Foundation and the Georgia-based Radiance Foundation, which is led by an African-American man, Ryan Bomberger, have united to put up the signs, which feature a Black baby and the words "Black & Beautiful," as part of their TooManyAborted.Com campaign.
Bomberger says, without providing verification, that in New York roughly 60 percent of African-American pregnancies end in abortion, and that in Georgia, “nearly 60 percent of all abortions are on African-Americans.”
Not everyone agrees with this approach. In a statement, U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) came out against the anti-abortion billboard campaign in her district. The representative called the signs a “race-based attack on a woman’s right to choose. These billboards stigmatize women of color and perpetuate myths about parenting skills and the types of women who seek and use abortion services.”
Similar campaigns that target other groups in different cities have had varied results. One campaign directed at Latinos in Los Angeles failed when the billboards were taken down after protests by Latino groups.
In New York, the NAACP found fault with billboards that equated abortion with slavery. Hilary Shelton, director of the Washington bureau of the NAACP, said, “Slavery was about not having the right to make any decisions. Women were actually bred to produce children for the purposes of profit. This is so far removed from that, that if it weren’t such a serious issue, it would almost be laughable.”