Originally published on How to Have Sex in Texas.
Editor’s note: Read all of Rewire’s coverage of this racist anti-choice campaign.
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The Majella Society, d/b/a Heroic Media, is Austin’s own do-nothing anti-abortion propaganda provider and they’re back in force with this new, racist billboard on I-35 south at 8th street near downtown. It appears that this billboard is part of a larger campaign targeting black women, like the one reported in Atlanta earlier this year, and this message represents an interesting change for Heroic, which has typically focused on “Pregnant? Scared?” messages.
Last year Majella ran the “I Am A Life” ad during the season premiere of CSI: Miami, which is a CBS show. Rewire reported in February that the Atlanta billboards were owned by CBS Outdoor and that CBS, which broadcast the Superbowl this year, allowed the tacky Tim Tebow anti-abortion commercial paid for by Focus on the Family.
On the website mentioned in the billboard above, there are several videos, including the one below. While the video itself doesn’t explicitly say that African American women are contributing to black genocide, the Youtube handle of the uploader is “PPAbortsAA.” The video itself includes language like “baby daddy” and the woman and the child presented–who is not an infant–are both black. The rest of the ads on Dangerouplace.org feature non-white women and children, too.
The downloadable “fact sheet” is also clearly targeting black women, and includes several spurious “facts” about abortion among African Americans. The website also links from this factoid: “In 2007, one pro-choice organization made only 4,912 adoption referrals while performing 305,310 abortions” to PPAbortsAA.org, which has the below super-obvious image on the homepage.
The text on the homepage is below:
Planned Parenthood’s actions are the ultimate exploitation of African American women and an assault on the dignity of life. Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger had a plan. She wasn’t interested in removing the cause of poverty, illiteracy, illegitimate births, or other social ills, she just wanted to eliminate the result, the pregnancy, …the innocent life. She wanted to, “stop the reproduction of the unfit”. Please help us, provide another voice for African Americans to listen to, to choose. A voice that encourages the heroic decision to become a mother.
And so on. But the curious thing is that, according to Statehealthfacts.org, black women in Texas account for a lower percentage of abortions in the state (23.2%) as compared to the national proportion (35%), and this Guttmacher report shows that black Texas teens have an abortion rate less than half (20) that of the national rate of 44. This may be more of an indication of how hard it is to get abortions in Texas, but regardless, there is not a “black abortion epidemic” in Texas.
So why Austin? The Census Bureau shows only 8% of the population here is black, as compared to 18% in Houston and 20% in Dallas. My money is on the Legislative session, which convenes on January 11th. The billboard’s proximity to the capitol suggests the target of these ads may not be black women at all, but those in power who have the ability to make abortion that much harder to get for all women.