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Despite controversy in NYC, pro-life billboards coming to Chicago
By Marianne Medlin
The Life Always billboard that will appear in Chicago
The Life Always billboard that will appear in Chicago

.- A pro-life group plans to continue their billboard campaign in Chicago after a recent ad was pulled in New York City following complaints.

Life Always, the organization behind ads claiming the abortion industry targets America’s black community, will launch a new billboard in Chicago on March 29, featuring an image of President Obama.

The billboard reads: “Every 21 minutes, our next possible leader is aborted.” In the ad, President Obama is shown next to the word “leader,” and viewers are also directed to visit thatsabortion.com.

“Our hope at Life Always is to call attention to the devastation that abortion is causing in America,” Marissa Gabrysch, group spokeswoman, told CNA March 28.

“By using a likeness of our President, we hope to draw attention to the fact that our next generation of leaders is in jeopardy because of abortion,” Gabrysch said.

The organization says it plans to unveil over 30 billboards in South Chicago to draw attention to the disproportionate number of abortions among African Americans in the U.S. Life Always cites Census data and Center for Disease Control reports which show that although African Americans comprise less than 13 percent of the population, they account for 36 percent of the entire country's abortions.

The plans to launch the Chicago ads follow the removal of the group's prominent billboard in New York City. A 29 feet high and 16 feet wide billboard – unveiled on Feb. 22 and taken down within days – depicted a young black girl beneath the phrase “The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb.”

“The New York billboard generated strong reactions, which was the goal,” Gabrysch said. “We all need to react.”

Pete Costanza, the general manager for Lamar Advertising, said the billboard was removed because an objector to the billboard harassed the waiters and waitresses in the Mexican restaurant below the sign.

The restaurant has no affiliation with the billboard company or the pro-life group.

Dr. Alveda King – niece of civil rights legend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – told CNA that despite being removed, the New York billboard “opened up dialogue across the country.”

“I've been able to have many conversations since the billboard went up and came right back down,” she said, “about how African American women and their children are victims and how we have been targeted by genocide.”

In a Feb. 25 post on his blog, The Gospel in the Digital Age, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan said that the removed ad was so upsetting because its “message is somberly true.”

Likening the ad to anti-smoking campaigns that show the graphic affects of nicotine addiction or world hunger organizations that show pictures of starving children, the New York archbishop said that being “confronted by the truth can often be unpleasant.”


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