A pro-life billboard campaign has caused controversy in Georgia for saying that black children are an “endangered species” because of the disproportionately high abortion rate among African-American women.
The billboards show a close-up of an African-American boy’s worried face. To the left in large print are the words “Black Children are an Endangered Species.”
Georgia Right to Life has sponsored the 65 billboards with the Atlanta-based Radiance Foundation, a group which encourages adoption. According to the New York Times, the two organizations hope to sponsor 80 billboards.
The billboards advertise the web site www.TooManyAborted.com. Using a polished graphic design, the site connects abortion to segregation and claims that racists went “underground” after the civil rights era in American history.
The site charges that Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, wanted to reduce the population of blacks.
One of its videos cites one of Sanger’s comments from an essay on birth control: “There is no doubt… that the procreation of this group should be stopped.”
In context, Sanger did not mention race. She openly advocated population control for the “irresponsible and reckless” and those whose “religious scruples” oppose small families. She also attacked this group as largely “diseased,” “feeble-minded” and “of the pauper element.”
Writing on TooManyAborted.com, the Radiance Foundation decried abortion’s impact across society. It explained its particular campaign as an attempt to “dig deeper and focus on abortion in an historical context with real present-day ramifications.”
“This isn’t black vs. white, or a me vs. you. It’s the truth vs the lie. The truth is that abortion kills an innocent human life. It’s easier to speak in euphemisms, but the simple truth is the miracle of life is threatened every day by a false ideology that dupes women into believing their very biology is a threat to them.”
Catherine Davis, the minority outreach coordinator of Georgia Right to Life, said that the African-American abortion rate is so high it has begun to affect black fertility. Her organization said it would support state legislation that makes it a crime for abortion providers to solicit business based on the race or sex of the unborn child.
The New York Times, citing Center for Disease Control (CDC) data, says that the fertility rate among black women remains higher than the national average and has slightly increased in recent years.
However, the abortion rate is in fact significantly higher among African-American women.
In 2006 57.4 percent of the abortions in Georgia were performed on black women, although blacks only make up about 30 percent of the population. CDC figures show that out of 37 states that report abortion data by race, the state of Georgia was behind only New York and Texas in the number of abortions performed on black women. It was behind only Mississippi and Maryland in reporting a higher percentage of abortions going to black women.
Critics of the billboard campaign include Loretta Ross, executive director of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective in Atlanta. The New York Times says she accused the billboards of depicting black women either as monsters intent on destroying their race or as victims of white-controlled abortion clinics.
“The reason we have so many Planned Parenthoods in the black community is because leaders in the black community in the ‘20s and ‘30s went to Margaret Sanger and asked for them,” Ross said. “Controlling our fertility was part of our uplift out of poverty strategy, and it still works.”
Ryan Bomberger, founder of the Radiance Foundation and designer of the billboard, said the campaign does not target black women but “exposes an industry that we believe targets African-Americans.”