Georgia Billboards Link Abortion, Race

Errin Haines, AOL News, February 14, 2010

The message on dozens of billboards across the city is provocative: Black children are an “endangered species.”

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The eyebrow-raising ads featuring a young black child are an effort by the anti-abortion movement to use race to rally support within the black community.

This anti-abortion billboard in Atlanta featuring a young black child is part of an effort by the anti-abortion movement to use race to rally support within the black community.

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The billboards went up last week in Atlanta and urge black women to “get outraged.”

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Black women accounted for the majority of abortions in Georgia in 2006, even though blacks make up just a third of state population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nationally, black women were more than three times as likely to get an abortion in 2006 compared with white women, according to the CDC.

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Anti-abortion advocates say the procedure has always been linked to race. They claim Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger wanted to eradicate minorities by putting birth control clinics in their neighborhoods, a charge Planned Parenthood denies.

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In 2008, Issues4Life, a California-based group working to end abortion in the black community, lobbied Congress to stop funding Planned Parenthood, calling black abortions “the Darfur of America.”

Pro-Life Action League Executive Director Eric Scheidler said a race-based strategy for anti-abortion activists has gotten a fresh zeal, especially in the wake of the historic election of the country’s first black president, Barack Obama, who supports abortion rights.

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“To use racist arguments to try to bait black people to get them to be anti-abortion is just disgusting,” said Guy-Sheftall, who teaches women’s history and feminist thought at the historically black women’s college.

“These one-issue approaches that are not about saving the black family or black children, it’s just a big distraction,” she said. “Many black people don’t know who Margaret Sanger is and could care less.”

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