March 29, 2011
(anti-choice billboard image via Feministing)
Third Wave grant partner Chicago Abortion Fund released this statement today, denouncing a new series of anti-choice billboards targeting communities of color — this time, in their hometown Chicago:
Chicago Abortion Fund (CAF) is against the billboard being unveiled at 58th and State Streets on the South Side of Chicago on Tuesday, March 29, 2011. The ongoing anti-choice movement to target women of color in cities across the country is both despicable and deplorable. Not only is the ad attempting to shame black women but placing a picture of the President Obama alongside the message stoops to a new low. CAF demands that elected officials and community leaders immediately reject this racist billboard campaign.
Life Always, the organization responsible for the billboard, is just one of the many anti-choice organizations seeking shock value through a message that many don’t believe. These organizations and their billboard campaigns fail to address the social conditions that create the need for abortions, including poverty and a lack of access to contraception and reproductive health care.
Says Gaylon Alcaraz, executive director of the Chicago Abortion Fund, “These people who insist on shoving down our throats their anti-women messages through lies and misleading information should be ashamed of themselves. Women have a legal right to access abortion services and should not be shamed regarding the personal choices they make. Abortion is a personal decision, not a political discussion. We will not be moved by this anti-choice attempt to hijack our communities. Only we, women of color, can speak for our communities. Only we, women of color, know what is best for our families.”
Last year, similar billboards first began to appear in Georgia. Third Wave grant partner SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW successfully mobilized their community and allies in Atlanta to denounce the billboards and speak to the truth of black women’s fight for reproductive freedom.
For more on the network of anti-choice organizations funding these billboards, check out Miriam Zoila Pérez’s investigation at Colorlines.
Update (March 30, 2011): Gaylon Alcaraz on NBC Chicago, at yesterday’s protest against the billboards:
Written by: Melissa Gira Grant