New racist anti-choice billboards show up in NYC

Picture of a young black girl with the message "The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb"

The huge billboard featured above recently went up in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City. Sponsored by the Texas group Life Always, this billboard is just one in a series of similarly targeted billboards that have gone up around the country. This one is conveniently located around the corner from the NYC Planned Parenthood.

Responses from the organization behind the billboard specifically talk about targeting Planned Parenthood and the rates of abortion among African-American women.

Reproductive justice advocates are livid.

From Sistersong and the Trust Black Women Partnership:

Yesterday, racist billboards went up in Soho attacking black women and our human rights by claiming “the most dangerous place for an African American child is in the womb.” SisterSong, a coalition of 80 women of color and Indigenous women’s organizations, denounces this cynical attempt to use race during Black History Month as an excuse to assault women’s rights. Black women are not the pawns of these white people who erect such billboards. We find them offensive, racist, sexist and – most of all – disrespectful of our decision making, our 400-year history of raising and caring for black children, and our human right to make health care choices for ourselves.

Read the full statement here.

Also, an interesting note. The mother of the child pictured (who is only 6 years old) apparently had no idea how her daughter’s image was going to be used: “I would never endorse something like that,” says Tricia Fraser, Anissa’s mother. “Especially with my child’s image.” Her daughter’s photo was taken by an ad agency and then sold to a stock photo company, where the anti-choice group purchased it for the ad. Fraser is now demanding that her daughter’s image be taken off the billboard.

UPDATE: Want to take action against the offensive billboard? Contact the advertising company that hosts the billboard and ask them to remove it:

Lamar Advertising
General Manager: Peter Costanza, pcostanza@lamar.com
437 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016

Phone: 212-644-6147
Fax: 212-644-6148

Join the Conversation

  • http://feministing.com/members/eadske/ Katherine

    That doesn’t even make any sense! Do these people have any proof to back up their arguments?
    It’s disgusting!

  • http://feministing.com/members/disarmory/ Blair

    Looks like there’s a typo in the e-mail address. Should be “pcostanza@lamar.com.” No ‘n.’

  • http://feministing.com/members/kaelin/ Matt

    The wording of choice presumes a fetus as a person (and considering that almost all abortion happens in the first half of pregnancy, this definition of person must non-viable fetuses fairly early in development). It also does not make attributions about miscarriage, nor does it take into account the woman’s circumstances (Was she a victim of rape? Will the pregnancy kill or seriously harm her? Would the resulting child be able to live in a non-vegetative state?) It is an unspoken assumption that gives the owner a “defense” for making a statement more emotional than any civilized person should make for their message (it’s not to say people should be torn apart for saying stupid things or even publish stupid things, but it’s another for it to be highly-calculated core of the statement).

    And yeah, it’s a very racist billboard, because if this claim can be made for Black people, it can also be made for White people (who aren’t that shy of abortion themselves).

  • http://feministing.com/members/responsibleone/ Rone

    although I do not agree with the approach, wording, delivery, etc.. of this Billboard (obviously utilizing sensationalism/shock value), the underlying message is fact driven. Statistics consistently indicate African-American women are approximately 2.5 times more likely to have an abortion when compared to all other races. They are targeting a particular race, not because of a dislike of the said race, rather, because the race represents a disproportional percentage of abortions. This easily could have been Whites, Asian, Indian, etc… if the statistics favored that race.

    Not sure if this matters, but I am Pro-Choice and believe all races are created equal.

    Statisics Source: US Census Bureau
    http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2011/tables/11s0099.pdf

    • http://feministing.com/members/judithbutlertron/ R

      The difficulty with the phrase “fact driven” is that incomplete, isolated, and context-free facts are lies. Unless you address this issue in its entirety – something most white pro-life AND pro-choice activists rarely do – the “facts” are meaningless, and when they are used in bad faith like this it is racist and inexcusable libel. The most dangerous place for an African-American child is a society that Others him or her, and takes choices away based on race and gender.

      Some associated FACTS to go along with those raw numbers showing a disproportionate number of A/A women seeking to terminate their pregnancies are the disproportionate number of A/A women who do not have the same educational, financial, health care, and social opportunities as their white counterparts.

      This billboard uses those “facts” are clearly being used to attack A/A mothers, and as such it is a clearly racist and oppressive act. The unenviable choices many A/A women face between their financial and social situation and their freedom to make reproductive decisions unencumbered by rape culture, “slut”-shaming, poverty, and lack of education regarding their rights should not be used to shame or shock ANYONE but the people who contribute to and benefit from the continued oppression of A/A people through individual and institutionalized racism and misogyny.

  • http://feministing.com/members/brianstinar/ Brian J. Stinar

    Selling your image to an advertising company which involves signing a generic release, and then having the image re-sold to a stock photo company, which then re-sells them image to someone designing an anti-abortion billboard IS okay’ing your image on the billboard… This article completely ignores that extremely important aspect of ‘consent.’

    Since I have not actually read the release form, I’m not sure about this case. As the author did not mention the release, I have no idea if they have seen it or not either. When I signed a similar release, it was 100% generic and they could do whatever they wanted with the images/video/sounds they paid me for. This is why everyone should read and fully understand the implications of what they sign. I was in the movie “Gamer” as an extra, nothing scandalous.

  • http://feministing.com/members/coqui007/ Autumn

    I think it’s absolutely hilarious this ad was pointed at African American woman, considering usually people want to say African American women are the ones who need to be on birth control because they a.) don’t use contraceptives b.) don’t have abortions c.) don’t abstain. It also seems to be a popular idea in America that black women are the ones who have kids just to have them, and them use them for public assistance programs.

    So now the American media is telling me that all of a sudden the ethnic group of people they once referred to as the rabbits of America, are killing their unborn children?

    Seriously???

    I call major b.s. on these stats and their motives behind posting this ad in one of the busiest neighborhoods in New York City during Black History Month.