Heroic Media, an Austin, Texas advertising agency dedicated to promoting a pro-life message, is accustomed to controversy. However, even they are surprised at the response to their new campaign, which accuses Planned Parenthood of targeting African-Americans.
Media outlets have banned the ads without explanation.
The advertisements direct viewers to the website www.ppabortsaa.com, short for “Planned Parenthood Aborts African Americans.” There, the agency offers documentation from sources such as the U.S. Census, Center for Disease Control and the Guttmacher Institute, to support the advertisements' contention that “the most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb.”
Central to Heroic Media's campaign, is the allegation that Planned Parenthood has placed around 70 percent of its abortion clinics in areas that can be designated as “minority neighborhoods.” A 2005 report by the Cybercast News Service claimed that out of 160 known abortion facilities run by the organization, 100 were located in communities with a higher black population than the state as a whole.
Although the ad campaign does not accuse any current leaders or staff at Planned Parenthood of being motivated by racism, it does note that abortion has reduced the black population by over 25 percent since 1973, making it responsible for more deaths than violent crime, accidents and disease.
A billboard featuring the “most dangerous place” tagline, along with a silhouette of an African American woman, was rejected in both Dallas and Houston. The prospective client first explained that the billboard was overly “'race' based.” A representative from the same company denied that this was the motivation, stating that the depiction of the woman was overly explicit.
Another outlet in Texas first approved the billboard but subsequently rejected it, citing its “questionable” content as a violation of their contract with land owners. Outlets in New York and Chicago followed suit, and likewise declined to discuss their reasons.
Representatives from Heroic Media deny that the campaign is either inappropriate or racially inflammatory. Instead, they have expressed concern that companies which refuse to run the ad on billboards or television may not only be looking out for their commercial interests, but possibly “protecting Planned Parenthood.”
“It looks like, from our perspective, they're trying to protect this one organization, instead of trying to provide information that can help African Americans,” the pro-life agency's communications director Kimberly Guidry Speirs told Relevant Radio's Drew Mariani on August 24.
The advertisement was, however, accepted to run on Black Entertainment Television, where it can currently be seen.