Chicago Foundation for Women reports on the arrival of these billboards in Chicago:
“Three identical billboards near 58th and State say, “Every 21 minutes, our next possible leader is aborted,” next to a photo of President Obama.
Spokespeople for Life Always, the group behind the billboards, say they want to highlight the fact that African American women have a higher abortion rate than Caucasian women by running 30 billboards in communities of color. They say this message is supposed to help women.”
But we know that telling women what decisions they “should” be making with their lives and bodies does not help women. It treats women (in this case, black women specifically) like they are unable to make sound medical decisions for themselves, and that they require a “morally superior” group to tell them what the “right” thing to do is – as if any person or group has the authority on right and wrong. It’s just one more way that conservative religious groups have found to attack poor women in our country in an attempt to take way the services needed most.
Here’s a statement from an article in Today’s Chicago Woman from Cherisse Scott of Black Women for Reproductive Justice and Carole Brite of Planned Parenthood of Illinois:
“The billboards have been placed in the black community with a picture of the first black president stating that black women are murderers of potential black leaders,” says Cherisse Scott, a health educator and campaigns coordinator with Black Women for Reproductive Justice. “The billboards vilify black women for making the very hard decision of whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term. To say that a black child is not safe in his or her mother’s womb is not only racist, but heinous.”
“The sponsors of these billboards are using race as a wedge issue to deny women the ability to make important personal medical decisions,” adds Carole Brite, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Illinois. “…These billboards are offensive and disturbing. This is harmful to women in every community who need quality, affordable health care.”
We couldn’t agree more. And a big thanks to BWRJ and the Chicago Abortion Fund for their work in the community against these racist anti-choice billboards.