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Anti-abortion Billboard in Washington Park Aimed at African-Americans

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By J. Coyden Palmer, Special to the NNPA from The Chicago Crusader –

During a press conference in Washington Park last week, a Black Texas minister announced he was starting an anti-abortion campaign aimed directly at the African American community.

Rev. Stephen Broden, pastor of Fair Park Bible Fellowship Church, said he is placing the billboards in Black communities across the nation in an attempt to draw attention to high abortion rates within the community. His first billboard in Chicago went up in the 5800 block of South State Street. Broden had billboards in New York City, but they were taken down after controversy ensued.

That could also be the fate in Chicago as several people the Crusader spoke with said they did not approve of the image of President Barack Obama being a part of Broden’s campaign. Obama’s likeness appears on the billboard along with the words “Every 21 minutes our next possible leader is aborted.” Broden said he used a likeness of the President’s image to try to convey the message that future leaders in the Black community are being aborted.

“I think the potential of this community lies in its children,” said Broden, who is a board member of the anti-abortion group Life Always.

“Too often we say we’re doing things for our kids, but do we really mean it? When we are aborting fetuses, we are basically taking away a life that could help us solve some of the issues in our community.”

Several people who were walking by during the press conference stopped to confront Broden and offer their opinion. Some said they agreed with his position on abortion, but did not agree with the tactics he was employing.

Joanne Fishback, 30, said she had an abortion at 15 and regrets it every day of her life. But, she was offended by the Life Always billboard because it featured Obama.

“During his campaign the President said he supported a woman’s right to choose, so I don’t see why they would put him on an anti-abortion campaign,” Fishback said.

“I think it is disrespectful to the president and his family. They could have gotten their message across without Obama’s face on it.” Teddy Williams, a local plumber, said he was upset not just with Obama’s image, but the campaign in general. Williams, 56, and a father of three adult women, said he has always told his daughters not to allow any man to tell them what to do with their bodies. He sees anti-abortion activists as a threat to the message he instilled in his own children.

“I think women are constantly being told, by men none the less, what they need to do with their bodies,” Williams began. “We want women to look a certain way, dress another way, talk this way…now we’re trying to shame them into keeping a baby that may not be in the best interest for them to have. I think we should provide women contemplating an abortion with the best information possible on the subject and then let them decide.”

For decades, abortion has been a politically divisive issue. In 1973, the United States Supreme Court in the landmark case of Roe vs. Wade made abortions legal. But, that did not end the debate and on a regular basis, pro-life groups are seeking ways to overturn the court’s ruling.

Life Always is planning on placing more than 30 billboards in African American neighborhoods throughout Chicago. The group said it used data from the U.S. Census and Centers for Disease Control when stating that Blacks are less than 13 percent of the population and about 36 percent of the country’s abortions.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 25,196 abortions in Cook County, Illinois in 2009. Those who work at women health centers were critical of the Life Always campaign.

Cherisse Scott, a health educator with Black Women for Reproductive Justice attended the press conference to confront members of Life Always and give her viewpoint as a person who works with many women who must decide whether to give birth after an unexpected pregnancy. Scott said many anti-abortionists only focus on the woman giving birth and do not consider the quality of life issues once the child is born. In her work with clients, Scott said many women who choose to have an abortion do so not because they do not want a baby, but because they do not believe they can afford one.

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0 # Guest 2011-04-10 10:03
I had this very conversation this week with friend who believes that abortion is a legitimate way to control urban blight. He is a conservative. Thirty years ago I state to another friend that abortion is possibly kill a future leader. As a liberal, he disagreed. As C. Evert Coop said, "A society can sink no lower than if I allow it's people to kill their children." I believe abortion is Black American genocide and that the use of our president's picture as having been a possible victim is appropriate.
0 # Guest 2011-04-05 20:40
I heard about the billboard in New York last week.The facts are 60% of African American women get abortions in New York City.I"m a white guy with a mixed child and I think this statistic borders on genocide. I understand what women have to go through because they get pregnant, give the babies to parents who can"t have children! I and my partner{back then} gave up a boy 38 years ago,and i am glad I was able to be in the decision. It takes 2 to tango , so it should take 2 to decide to abort!
0 # Guest 2011-04-05 18:18
Here's a little secret black people: there's a lot of people out there who don't mind the fact that black people get abortions and in fact think it's a good thing.
0 # Guest 2011-04-05 15:01
I second that emotion. Wake up my brother and sisters and realize that genocide is at foot.
0 # Guest 2011-04-04 13:33
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has recognized that all children are entitled to "legal protection before as well as after birth".

There is nothing wrong with raising the plight of Afro-American children disproportionately at risk of abortion and being denied legal protection.

It is a serious injustice from which a multi-million dollar abortion industry has profited for too long.

Lethal violence against children is never 'necessary'. All violence against children, black or white, is preventable.

Before as well as after birth, children should never receive less protection than adults.

Their mothers' personal and social needs can and should be met by non-violent means.

Genuine medicine does no deliberate harm to either patient, the mother or her unborn child.

BVN National News Wire