A contentious anti-abortion billboard in Manhattan that linked Blacks to excessive abortions was removed by an outdoor advertising firm Feb. 25, CBS News reported.
The ad, created by pro-life nonprofit organization Life Always, showed a Black girl under the text, “The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb.”
The message prompted an outcry from both Black activists and city residents.
“They don’t have to single out African-American children. They could have said the most dangerous place for a child is in the womb,” Byron Wright, a Brooklyn resident told an NBC reporter after spotting the ad from his office window.
The Rev. Al Sharpton applauded the advertising company for removing the billboard and reportedly cancelled a planned protest.
“They got a lot of attention, but they may not have gotten a lot of support,” he told CBS.
But Life Always representatives said the bold billboard was designed to spark discussion about disproportionally high Black abortion rates.
They said that abortion clinics including Planned Parenthood target minorities, and claim that twice as many black babies die from abortion procedures than from violent crimes, AIDS, heart disease, cancer and motor vehicle accidents combined.
“I do understand that it is a provocative message, but it is a message that’s sourced in fact; it is not hyperbole. It is a truth that needs to be confronted. It is one that needs to be talked about in our community,” Pastor Stephen Broden, a board member of the nonprofit, told MSNBC.
He said that more babies are aborted than are born each year in New York City.
A Planned Parenthood spokesman took the ad’s message as a direct attack on the clinic.
“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,” Planned Parenthood spokesman Christine Quinn said in a statement. “Every woman deserves the right to make health care decisions for herself and I will continue to fight to protect this basic right and against this sort of fear mongering.”
Prior to its removal, the billboard was scheduled to remain up for three more weeks, according to CBS.