What began in the Deep South as a conservative grassroots campaign to manipulate the emotions of African-American women has now spread like a cancer to the heart of urban cities New York and Los Angeles.
Heroic Media, the pro-birth organization responsible for the wildly inaccurate billboards claiming that the "most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb," has joined forces with advertising agency Life Always to spread their message of murderous, malleable black women around the globe.
On Febraury 23, the infamous billboard debuted in the Soho district of New York, less than a mile away from a Planned Parenthood abortion facility and just in time for Black History Month.
The Radiance Foundation, the organization behind the provocative billboards "Black Children Are An Endangered Species," have also infested King Boulevard in South Los Angeles with their message.
Choosing this symbolic month to shine the light on "the Power of Possibility," Radiance pledges to protect the futures of those innocent black children yet born, while "illuminating" those Mothers who are doing an exceptional job (see below).
"During Black History Month ... our future is in jeopardy as a genocidal plot is carried out through abortion."
The press release notes the launch of campaign website thatsabortion.com, stating:
"There is a battle being waged in the United States that has taken more lives than any foreign war or act of terrorism. The enemy is abortion."
According to the organization, the campaign is meant to raise public awareness of Planned Parenthood's supposed agenda to target minority neighborhoods.
Statements crafted to summon guilt and regret, such as, "Heartbeat ends. Heartbreak begins," and, "Spend your nights crying like a baby, with no baby to comfort you," are boldly displayed on the site above, with an image of a pregnant African-American woman linking to DangerousPlace.com.
"It is misguided to use Black History Month as a tool to promote this message," said New York Council Member Letitia James. "Every woman has the right to make personal choices in regards to her body, and I respect many different points of view, but to compare abortion to terrorism and genocide is highly offensive."
Janette Robinson Flint, executive director of Black Women for Wellness, voiced her disgust with the billboards in Los Angeles:
"It is reprehensible that someone would use black children as a tool to attack black women for political purposes.
"Black women stand at the intersection of racism and sexism in this country, and we face the pain of living at this crossroads every day. It is demonstrated by our health status - we suffer from some of the highest health disparities in Los Angeles County."
I completely agree with Council Member James and Ms. Flint, but I'm willing to take it a step further:
Not only is this campaign "highly offensive" and "reprehensible," the billboards are potentially libelous, and this entire display defames the character of African-American women.
While these organizations continue to regurgitate the fact that black children are three times more likely to be aborted than white children, I am yet to see any discussion on any other statistics or the probability that the information they're disseminating is incomplete.
White, middle-class women - many of whom have the luxury of receiving health care at private practices - are not factored in to that statistic; yet, according to the book, "Our Body, Ourselves: Boston Women's Health Care Collective," in 1969, prior to the 1973 passage of Roe vs. Wade, they accounted for 90 percent of all legal abortions.
Seventy-five percent of women of color, though, were forced by poverty or stigma to attain illegal abortions.
So let's ask ourselves, did that percentage drastically change or has our attention been shifted to serve a conservative political agenda? Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), said it best: "The conservatives want small government-small enough to fit in your uterus."
It would be "illuminating" to address the fact that, according to British medical journal The Lance, black women are three times more likely to die in childbirth than Hispanic women. When white women are included, that disparity becomes even more disproportionate. It would be "educational" to discuss the fact black women are 15 times more likely to contract HIV than white women, and that their infants are 2.5 times more likely to die than white infants.
Yet, where's the billboard advocating for health care equality?
It would be "heroic" to shed light on the fact that black men are six times more likely to spend time in prison than white men.
Yet, where's the billboard advocating for judicial equality?
According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, black women are more likely to be raped than white women.
Yet, where's the billboard advocating for the reduction of crimes against African-American women?
With these statistics, it would be more creative to create a billboard reading:
"The Most Dangerous Place for an African American is in America."
It's just as sensationalistic but more accurate.
More importantly, it would redirect attention to the societal issues which create an environment where abortion is sometimes a necessity, and away from the reproductive decisions of African-American women.
In a case study entitled "Women Who Kill Their Children," conducted by Khoua Her and Andrea Yates, it shares the insightful societal observation that white, middle-class women effectively have a head start because poor women of color are already perceived as "bad" mothers before they even commit a crime.
The "mad" vs. "bad" perception.
Killer Moms, such Andrea Yates, Casey Anthony and Susan Smith, who murdered their children in psychopathic displays of violence, are considered "mad," meaning they are victims of mental illness so severe that organizations such as the National Organization for Women have not only called for a more extensive study in to post-partum depression, but more lenient sentencing.
Yet, "bad" African-American Mothers are labeled "dangerous" for daring to utilize their legal rights?
We nursed this country to life at our breasts, while slavemasters raped us. Yet, now that we have the authority to decide what enters and exits our bodies, we're evil?
Not only are these campaigns the epitome of hypocrisy, they are both dishonest and cruel, playing on the heightened vulnerability of African-American women and the prejudices of society at large.
There is absolutely nothing "heroic" about that.
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