Billboards in Austin, Texas feature the slogan "The most dangerous place for some children is in the womb," with a picture of a black child. They're part of an anti-abortion group's new campaign accusing Planned Parenthood of ethnic cleansing.
Yesterday, Austin TV station KXAN reported on the Heroic Media campaign, which includes the billboards and a commercial that runs nationwide:
Though the site bearing the banned line "The Most Dangerous Place For An African-American Is In The Womb" is still up, the billboard directs women to a new site with the toned-down slogan and photos of children of different ethnicities. It includes links to this ad, which shows extreme sensitivity to the black community with a discussion of what to do when your "baby's daddy" issues an ultimatum:
Heroic Media isn't the first anti-choice group to suggest the "abortion industry" is racist. When the New York Times reported on the targeting of African-Americans in the debate over abortion rights, Jodi Jacobson of RH Reality Check responded that the real issue is:
African-American women have less access than do whites to health care overall, and less access to high quality reproductive and sexual health care, including effective contraceptive supplies and information.
The facts in Planned Parenthood's response to the controversy in Austin back up Jacobson's assessment:
Planned Parenthood's mission is to provide preventive, affordable health care to everyone in the community regardless of their race, ethnicity, sex, religion, sexual orientation, or ability to pay. Planned Parenthood health centers provide health care and education to three million women and men in the U.S. every year—including 33,000 men and women in Austin. Last year, Planned Parenthood in Austin provided 5,944 breast cancer screenings, 5,557 cervical cancer screenings, 16,577 tests and treatment for sexually transmitted infections; 6,578 HIV tests; and birth control for more than 26,000 Central Texans. This expensive billboard campaign generates media attention but unfortunately does nothing to provide critically needed health care and education in the Austin community.
Planned Parenthood didn't release information on how many abortions it provided in Austin, but according to the state health department, 3,694 abortions were performed in all of Travis County in 2008.
If Planned Parenthood is mainly out to ethnically cleanse African-Americans, as Heroic Media claims, why is it putting way more effort into keeping people alive? It sounds like Planned Parenthood is actually just providing health care services, including abortions, to people who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford it. Clearly Heroic Media really cares about minorities, just not enough to mount a campaign to get them better health care.