She had directed her staff to start an online petition seeking its removal and she asked the liberal activist group MoveOn.org to publicize it.
The petition criticized the billboard’s “vitriolic language” and invoked the Arizona shootings committed by Jared Lee Loughner in January. It also cited an unnamed Planned Parenthood representative who called the billboard a “condescending effort to stigmatize and shame African-American women.”
Other elected officials also voiced criticism. City Council speaker Christine C. Quinn issued a statement objecting to the comparisons of abortion to genocide.
“To refer to a woman’s legal right to an abortion as a ‘genocidal plot’ is not only absurd, but it is offensive to women and to communities of color,” she said.
City public advocate Bill de Blasio called for the billboard’s removal on Feb. 23, while the Women of Color Policy Network at New York University also wrote Costanza seeking its removal.
New York City Vital Statistics show that 59.8 percent of black pregnancies end in abortion, which means almost 1,500 babies are aborted for every 1,000 born alive.
“The reaction to this billboard is centered on trauma; abortion is traumatic, it is the emotional and physical trauma that women face after abortion that necessitates access to post-abortive healing services,” commented Life Always board member Pastor Steven Broden, who heads the Fair Park Bible Fellowship in Texas.
Life Always said it “strongly disagrees” with the decision to remove the billboard.
“(T)he billboard's message holds true, and truth has a place in the public square,” it said on Feb. 24. “The intent of the board is to call attention to the tragedy and the truth that abortion is outpacing life in the black community.”
The group said it respects all women and encourages those in need of pregnancy care to visit one of the city’s numerous pregnancy care centers which offer “hopeful alternatives” to abortion.
In January 2011, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York decried the city’s “chilling” abortion rate. A recent report found that 41 percent of all unborn babies there are killed in the womb. The city’s three Planned Parenthood abortion clinics reported nearly 17,000 abortions in 2010.
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