Cindy Rodriguez is the Urban Policy reporter for New York Public Radio.
Anti-Abortion Billboard in Soho Is Removed
Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 06:20 PM
An anti-abortion group's controversial billboard was taken down from its Soho location Thursday night.
The advertisement at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Watts Street pictured a toddler with the tagline: "The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb."
Lamar Advertising decided to take down the billboard for the sake of "public safety," Hal Kilshaw, a spokesman for the Louisiana-based company said.
Rev. Al Sharpton canceled plans to protest the billboard, which he said "depicted black women in an unfair way" and was pleased with the decision to take it down.
Life Always, the Texas-based group responsible for the ad, said in a statement that it disagreed with the advertising company's decision to take down the billboard.
Pastor Stephen Broden, who is black and is the leader of Life Always, said earlier in the week that Planned Parenthood's dominance in the black community has resulted in the high rates of abortion among black women.
"They have represented their case with sophistication of messaging and with the kind of mantra that has been unchallenged in our community. It is time for us to challenge it because the impact is devastating," Broden said.
Broden said young black women should learn more about adoption and other ways they can carry their pregnancies to term.
In a written statement, Planned Parenthood called the billboard "a condescending effort to stigmatize African-American women while attempting to discredit the work of Planned Parenthood."
City council Speaker Christine Quinn called the billboard offensive and absurd.
Passers by who spotted the billboard Wednesday afternoon were either offended or confused.
"I've actually wanted to help organize a whole bunch of my friends to take that sign down," Suman Raghunathan, 34, said, "because it is incredibly offensive and it's a crazy confluence of racism and classism. "
With the Associated Press