April 13, 2011
As black women gathered to protest and demand the removal of those signs, which were posted up in the darkness from the night before, black preachers and other Life Always representatives stood at the microphone explaining why they chose this neighborhood and the president’s image for their tag line: “Every 21 minutes our next possible leader is aborted.” These three identical billboards placed side by side on a building that face evidence of poverty, neglect and despair is ironic. The lot in which the press conference was held is littered with broken glass and garbage, with grass nowhere to be found. It is this scene that provided the backdrop for this Houston-based group to advocate for “Life Always.” Yet, these outsiders fail to see the irony in telling black women in this depressed neighborhood not to abort their ‘babies.’
By coming into poor communities of color in an effort to regulate and attempt to control women’s decisions about reproduction and reproductive health, the group is spreading fear, myths and falsehoods not only about abortion (one lonely woman of color stood on stage and talked about breast cancer and abortion) but also about what these anti-choice organizations actually do. For example, one preacher yelled from the podium that they advocate for more crisis pregnancy centers that would help women. Yet, we all know that these centers do not help women but attempt to shame through various tactics, such aspropaganda films and shoving mutilated dolls in front of women.
One of the women that sought funding from the Chicago Abortion Fund, Nicole Goss, found a crisis pregnancy center before she found our information. She had this type of experience. In fact, she stated that the center she found herself in attempted to do everything to force her not to have an abortion, even telling her she was too far along to have a procedure – which was not true! These centers are deceitful but very dangerous as well. Nicole had a second-
trimester procedure which proved to be not only more risky but drastically more expensive than if she had access to an earlier first-trimester abortion. This is a clear example of the deceptive work of these centers for which the preachers are advocating.
Over on Chicago Abortion Fund’s blog, their members shared their reactions to the billboards:
What Life Always should have done was invested the time, energy and funds they used to put up those billboards into these neighborhoods and their schools. Fund and advocate for comprehensive sex education in the schools. Provide us with employment resources. - Brittany
Abortion is a choice and i know everyone is entitled to the own opinion however i still being this billboard should be removed. growing up in this community many would be surprise to know what goes on and what woman have to endure so i feel that attempting to alter someone minds and choice is wrong. Allow these woman to make there own choices who knows a few years down the road they too could be the next possible leader…. – Dominique Perry
Written by: Melissa Gira Grant