Roundup: The Billboard Buzz Continues with New Kinds of Crazy

Robin Marty

More on the Atlanta billboards, an U.S. Rep says abortion "worse than slavery" and some religious musings on health care.

The billboards have been up for weeks now, but the more time passes, the more people want to talk about them.  The Atlanta signs that called black children an “endangered species,” started an enormous debate between pro- and anti-choice advocates, and that debate is still going strong.

In case you’ve missed the background, the anti-choicers are claiming that high rates of abortion among African-American women are part of a racist conspiracy.  It must be true, because this white guy tells me those are my real intentions.

The next time you hear someone touting the Roe v. Wade decision which brought about “the right to choose“…ask them to finish the sentence…Roe v. Wade actually brought about the right to choose to eradicate black children!

The proof of such allegations?  Well, James O’Keefe did an expose once!  Yes, this James O’Keefe.

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Pro-choice advocates continue to speak out about the campaign, especially the racial aspects meant to divide the community even more so than the topic of abortion itelf does.

[Vanessa] Cullins is vice president for medical affairs at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She also is black, a child of the South whose parents raised her to never forget America’s atrocities against her race.

So when she hears anti-choice activists accuse Planned Parenthood of “targeting” African-Americans to thin the race and describe black women’s abortions as “womb lynchings,” her outrage is visceral and personal.

“The language of our painful history has been co-opted and bastardized,” she said. “They are the racists. These people are trying to use racial issues to destabilize African-American women’s ability to control the size of their families … and provide a nurturing environment for their children.”

The controversy has now made enough noise to even be heard across the ocean, as the BBC reports.

‘Georgia Right to Life’ launched the campaign to try and persuade black women not to have abortions.

The organisation says nearly 40% of all black women’s pregnancies end in abortion, more than three times the rate of white women.

Some black activists are making historical comparisons between abortion and slavery, and talking of ethnic cleansing and “womb-lynching.”

They also accuse the pro-choice Planned Parenthood organisation of supporting selective breeding to control black people.

But as the Guttmacher Institute points out, the increased rate of abortions among African Americans is a result of less access to sex ed and contraceptives, as well as other reproductive health needs.

Abortion within the African-American community should be discussed in its proper context. Disproportionately high abortion rates among black women are a direct result of their higher rates of unintended pregnancy, which in turn reflect economic and social inequalities that are widespread and pervasive.

A result is stark disparities not only on various reproductive health outcomes, but also on a broad range of health indicators, including high rates of diabetes, heart disease, AIDS and cancer. Anti-abortion activists ignore these systemic inequities and instead — falsely and cynically — accuse abortion providers of targeting minority communities.

Rather than promoting bogus conspiracy theories, let’s focus on making comprehensive sex education and affordable contraceptive services universally available to reduce rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion. And let’s get serious about providing better health care and more educational and economic opportunities for black women.

A real killer in the black community isn’t Planned Parenthood employees, says The Slate’s William Saletan, but those who fight against gun control laws.

The numbers [of increased abortions depending on race] are provocative. But there’s something odd about the billboards. The child who appears beside the text is fully born. Abortion doesn’t kill such children. What kills them, all too often, is shooting. If you wanted to save living, breathing, fully born children from a tool of extermination that is literally targeting blacks, the first problem you would focus on is guns. They are killing the present, not just the future. But the sponsors of the “endangered species” ads don’t support gun control. They oppose it.

Finally, to top it all off, Arizona Representative Trent Franks states that abortion is actually worse than slavery.

Last week, Franks made the news again for having told a video blogger that abortion has been worse for African-Americans than slavery.

He said, “Far more of the African-American community is being devastated by the policies of today than were being devastated by the policies of slavery.”

Once again, Franks’ staff rushed forward to say that his comments were taken out of context.

The congressman’s spokeswoman sent me a note that read in part, “Congressman Franks routinely talks about the tragedy that was slavery in America, a tragedy which began with an errant Supreme Court decision declaring that one class of humanity was not worthy to be considered a ‘person’ under the Constitution. A similar Supreme Court decision declared that the unborn are not ‘persons’ under the law and therefore not worthy to be protected.”

There is no sane person in America who would not like to reduce the number of abortions. Not just in the African-American community, but in every community.

But comparing a free individual’s freely made family-planning decision to the enslavement of an entire race?

I asked Planned Parenthood Arizona’s President and CEO Bryan Howard what his reaction was to the Franks’ comments.

“Other than just recoiling in horror?” he asked, adding, “Slavery is about having control of nothing. All of your future is out of your hands. Reproductive choice, making your own decisions about when to have children, is the opposite. He (Franks) seems to think that women slaves owned by someone else are better off than women getting to decide when and how many children to have.”

Still, Rep. Franks’ office tells me that he has received many supportive calls related to his abortion/slavery comments.

I would go out on a limb and say statements like that are a little crazy.  But then again, I allegedly push to “eradicate black children.”

Mini Roundup: Bishops want to debate the failures of condoms?  Where exactly are they getting first hand experience? And the most over the top religious imagery article I’ve ever seen.

March 5, 2010

How Pelosi will game the Stupak 12 – Washington Post

Abortion coverage dispute divides House Democrats – The Associated Press

Senate Health Care Bill Funds, Promotes Abortions Despite Obama, Pelosi’s Protest –

Senate’s Weak Abortion Language Could Kill Obama Health Reform Bill – U.S. News & World Report

Anti-abortion activists have been accused of exploiting America’s racial history – BBC News

Prosecution Rests in James Pouillon Shooting Case, Says Abortion Motivated It –

Steve Poizner backs thrice-defeated parental notification abortion law – True/Slant

Utah Legislature: Revised abortion measure passes House, Senate – Deseret News

A pro-choice license plate bill hit an unexpected snag . . . – The Virginian-Pilot

Legislator floats idea to let corporations sponsor license plates –

Palin urges Ohio crowd to act on abortion issues – Springfield News Sun

Shifts in California GOP candidate Poizner’s position on abortion scrutinized – Los Angeles Times

China to stick to one-child policy – Oneindia

Should insurance companies be mandated to provide birth control? – Rapid City Journal

This International Women’s Day Let’s Aim to End Maternal Deaths – Huffington Post

Church, lawmaker collide on condoms – Manila Times

CO Personhood Initiative Petition Drive Falling Short – Ms. Magazine

Global AIDS Alliance: U.S. Must Meet Its Obligations to Family Planning – PR Newswire

Citizen’s voice: Harassment at family planning clinics should be against the law – Knoxville News Sentinel

March 6, 2010

GOP Rep. Nathan Deal Postpones Retirement to Fight Health Bill – CBS News

Connie Schultz: Anti-abortion billboards’ message is an ‘orchestrated lie’ – Capital Times

Palin tells Ohio audience her anti-abortion commitment was tested – Cleveland News – Fox 8

Utah House Passes Bill Outlawing Nonmedical Abortions – FOXNews

Live Tweeting Abortion: Experience Shows Abortion Still Hurts Women –

Utah Senate OKs bill on ultrasound before abortion –

Born on Christmas Eve, Healthcare ‘Reform’ May be Resurrected by Easter – Big Journalism

Anti-abortion advocates ready to keep fighting for Perry – Fort Worth Star Telegram

USAID cooperates with pharmacies to promote pregnancy planning – Trend News Agency

Government’s Efforts to Lower Teen Pregnancy in UK – TopNews United States

DC To Distribute Free Female Condoms –

Teens rally for sex education – Salt Lake Tribune

March 7, 2010

Franks equates abortion with slavery – really – Arizona Republic

Anti-abortion amendment may kill 3 child-welfare bills – Louisville Courier-Journal

Anti-abortion protests draw thousands in Spain – Arab News

Toy balloons released into sky in Russian Far East anti-abortion flash mob – RIA Novosti

Religion pollutes politics, threatens health care reform via abortion … –

Pro Life rally supporters rally to end abortion in Little Rock – Today’s THV

“Choose Electrolux” Plate Available Soon – Post Chronicle

Get birth control get $300 cash: Controversial program that pays drug addicts … –

Bishops claim condoms are porous, dare Cabral to debate – GMA

Kids to legislature: talk about sex –

High Maternal Death Rate Overshadows International Women’s Day in Afghanistan – Voice of America

March 8, 2010

Gubernatorial hopeful Poizner, accused of flip-flopping, steers hard to the right – San Jose Mercury News

Thousands protest new abortion law in Spain –

NARAL Seeks Pro-Choice License Plate With Proceeds Going to Planned Parenthood … –

Call to relax abortion laws – The Press Association

Arkansas’s Senator in Middle, Hit on All Sides – New York Times

The Anti-Abortion Message to Blacks – New York Times

A drive to fight abortion – Los Angeles Times

Utah Lawmaker Withdraws Bill To Charge Women Who Seek Illegal Abortions; Plans … – Medical News Today

The selective crusade against black women’s abortions. – William Saletan … – Slate

High maternal mortality rate remains a big challenge– Jakarta Post

Gender equality starts with maternal health – San Bernardino Sun

Planned Parenthood is the black community’s worst enemy –

2000 bereaved mothers conceive again in Sichuan – China Daily

Philippine health chief, church fight over condoms – The Associated Press

Pro-life group supporters seek to expand – Tallahassee Democrat

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