Native American students protest racist anti-choice posters in New Mexico

Wow. We’ve seen horribly racist anti-choice ads targeting African American and Latina women in recent years, but this might take the cake. Native American students at the University of New Mexico organized a protest after graphic anti-abortion posters popped up on campus that read “Abortion Extinction. Today, an Indian boy was killed the Indian way. Hey ya hey!”

Video via RH Reality Check

A representative for 40 Days for Life denied that the posters were associated with the group. At the student protest, signs read, “Racism is not pro-life” and “We will not be used to further your political purpose.”

Native women–who face rates of sexual violence that are twice as high as the rest of the country–often severely lack access to reproductive health care. A recent report found that only 10 percent of the pharmacies in the Indian Health Service system offered Plan B over the counter. And thanks to the Hyde smendment, abortion isn’t covered under the IHS or Medicaid.

Does anyone have time to write up a transcript of the video in the comments? Update: Huge thanks to Leighann Marie! Transcript after the jump.


Shelly Ribando (news anchor on left): A controversial poster appears on UNM’s campus.

Doug Fernandez (news anchor on right): Native American students say what started to be an anti-abortion message became offensive and racist. News Anchor Tanya Mendez has the story.

Tanya Mendez: When posters like these popped up on UNM’s campus, they sent a strong message about abortion.

Paula Herbert (UNM Student): “The first thing that went through my mind was pure…just…hurt. And then I was angry.”

Tanya Mendez: The image itself is too graphic to show you all of it, but on this poster a fetus adorned with a war bonnet and a feather and the words “Today an Indian Boy was killed the Indian way hey ya hey” and “Color the redman gone”. The images, plastered on campus, students couldn’t believe their eyes.

Enoch Endwarrior (UNM Student): “It says killed the Indian way, and I don’t know what tribe they’re talking about and I don’t know who they’re talking about.”
Paula Herbert (UNM Student): “I left and I actually cried in the hallway because it hurt me because my people were being represented in a negative light”

Lane Bird Bear (Kiva Club of UNM): “It’s definitely making a mockery of native American culture, identity, and spirituality.”

Tanya Mendez: So dozens gathered, armed with a message that not everyone wanted to hear.

Enoch Endwarrior: “It’s not right to use killed by the Indian way”

Person behind paper: “Go away!”

Enoch Endwarrior: “So…”

Person behind paper: “Take your camera away!”

Tanya Mendez: The images were put up by a pro-life group Tuesday. The group had the permits to demonstrate.

Enoch Endwarrior: “You can’t use, you know, cultural tragedies for one’s political gain or political agenda.”

Tanya Mendez: But since this counter-demonstration, the posters are nowhere to be found. Students say they’re glad the images are gone, but they’re not forgotten. At UNM, Tanya Mendez, KAOT, Action Center News.

Doug Fernandez: The group displaying the images is called 40 days for Life and moments ago they sent us a statement which says in part that “The sign and its message are not connected to the international 40 Days for Life movement, nor to the local Albuquerque campaign. The sign is not a 40 Days for Life sign, it was not a part of the 40 Days for Life table exhibit on the UNM campus…and the message does not represent the positive and life-affirming position of the group”.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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