Pro-Life NYC Billboard on Black Abortion Rate Taken Down

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 24, 2011   |   8:14PM   |   New York, NY

Pro-abortion activists in New York City have forced the removal of a pro-life billboard that warned about the inordinately high abortion rates on African-American women and children.

The pro-life group Life Always paid for the billboard, to try to draw attention to the fact that abortions kill 300,000 black unborn children annually. In fact, new data put out by the CDC today indicates black babies are victims of abortions at a much higher rate than their white or Hispanic counterparts.

The billboard, located in SoHo, bears an image of a young black girl and says “The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb.”

But the outdoor advertising company that sold the space to the pro-life group for the billboard said on Thursday that it would remove the image because the employees at the Mexican restaurant located on the bottom floor of the several story building bearing the ad were facing harassment over its pro-life message.

“It’s down, or at least it should be coming down soon,” Peter Costanza, the general manager for Lamar Advertising, told the New York Times. “Why did I take it down? Yesterday, somebody came into the restaurant harassing the waiters and waitresses. I don’t want any violence to happen around the buildings there.”

Yet, a woman answering the phone at Lupe’s East L.A. Kitchen could not verify to the Times that any harassment had been taking place.

Costanza said the decision to remove the billboard “wasn’t about politics” even though several black activists in the city spoke out against it.

The pro-life group told it disagrees with Lamar’s decision to remove the billboard.

“Life Always strongly disagrees with Lamar Outdoor’s decision to remove the billboard in Soho, but the billboard’s message holds true, and truth has a place in the public square,” it said. “The intent of the board is to call attention to the tragedy and the truth that abortion is outpacing life in the black community.”

Pastor Stephen Broden, a member of the group’s board of directors, added: “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.”

And Rev. Michel Faulkner of New York responded, “While this billboard causes a visceral reaction from many African Americans, it addresses a stubborn truth that 60 percent of black babies do not make it out of the womb. We must do something now.”

“Instead of challenging the design of the ad, we should ask why the message is true and how can we change the fact that the leading cause of death for African Americans is abortion,” Faulkner said.

Before the Lamar decision, Letitia James, a City Council member who represents parts of Brooklyn, was outraged by the pro-life billboard and worked with the pro-abortion, liberal activist group MoveOn to post a petition campaign against it. James had planned to hold a news conference with Al Sharpton on Friday at the billboard had Lamar not decided to take it down.

“The billboard was offensive, especially during Black History Month, and I had intended to hold a press conference Friday in front of the billboard to protest the message of racial profiling and against a woman”s right to choose,” Sharpton said Thursday.

Also, Women of Color Policy Network, a research and policy institute at New York University, wrote a letter to Costanza and told the newspaper he assured the group the billboard would be removed. And Joan Malin, the president of Planned Parenthood of New York City, applauded Lamar’s decision, saying the abortion business was “pleased that Lamar Advertising has heard the voices of thousands of New Yorkers.”

Meanwhile, the mother of the young girl who appears in the ad is upset that her daughter’s image is associated with it. Tricia Fraser said her daughter signed a contract to become a stock image model knowing that her image could be used in any number of campaigns with which she or her daughter might disagree.

“I would never endorse something like that,” the mother of 6-year-old Anissa Fraser told Fox television today.

Before Lamar’s decision, a representative of Life Always, Marissa Gabrysch, said: “There’s a grave disparity and just a huge disproportion that African-Americans represent 13 percent of the U.S. population yet represent 36 percent of abortions in the United States. African-Americans are claimed in abortions twice as frequently as they lose their lives to violent crimes, AIDS, cancer, heart disease and motor vehicle accidents combined.”

Life Always board member Pastor Stephen Broden told the Catholic News Agency: “During Black History Month, we celebrate our history, but our future is in jeopardy as a genocidal plot is carried out through abortion. We have seen the heartbreaking effects of opportunists who happen to be black abortionists perpetrating this atrocity; it’s not just babies who are in danger, it’s also their mothers, and our society at large.”

Rev. Derek McCoy, another Life Always board member, added: “This campaign highlights the tragedy that abortion is the number one killer since 1973 in the black community and the truth that we must confront in a city with a near 60 percent abortion rate for black women.”

The billboard is similar to a campaign Heroic Media ran in Jacksonville, Florida and Austin Texas last year, that Life Always took over in January.

The billboard follows a December city health department report showing 41 percent of pregnancies in New York City ended in abortion in 2009. Blacks had the highest number of abortions with 40,798, the report indicated.

ACTION: Contact Lamar advertising to protest its decision at