Roundup: The Billboard Buzz Continues with New Kinds of Crazy

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.

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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  • amanda-marcotte

    The same one that’s worked so tirelessly to shut down groups that do housing and other outreach to low income communities?  The one with associations with white supremacists?


    Now an activist organization that monitors hate groups has produced a photo of O’Keefe at a 2006 conference on “Race and Conservatism” that featured leading white nationalists. The photo, first published Jan. 30  on the Web site of the anti-racism group One People’s Project, shows O’Keefe at the gathering, which was so controversial even the ultra-right Leadership Institute, which employed O’Keefe at the time, withdrew its backing. O’Keefe’s fellow young conservative provocateur Marcus Epstein organized the event, which gave anti-Semites, professional racists and proponents of Aryanism an opportunity to share their grievances and plans to make inroads in the GOP……

    O’Keefe’s racial issues can be seen in many of his prior stunts The notorious ACORN videos highlighted images of himself dressed as a pimp, deceptively edited through hidden camera footage as he baited African-American office workers into making statements that could be perceived as incriminating. There were also lesser-known but equally inflammatory  spectacles like the “affirmative action bake sale” O’Keefe and his conservative comrades held when they were students at Rutgers University. During the event, O’Keefe stood at a table in the center of campus offering baked goods at reduced prices to Latinos and African-Americans while whites were forced to pay exorbitant amounts. (Native Americans, he announced, would eat free.)

    By O’Keefe’s own account, his racial troubles became acute when he entered the multicultural atmosphere of Rutgers University’s dormitory system. In an online diary that has since been scrubbed from the Web (but not before being captured on Daily Kos), he wrote that he was forced to live on an all-black dormitory floor after refusing to live with the gay roommate he was initially assigned. O’Keefe claimed his next roommate was “an Indian midget … who smelled like shit.”


    Of course, the pimp costume he was so proud of is a racist caricature, and I was sort of startled at how the media ate it up instead of flinching.

  • crowepps

    Of course, the pimp costume he was so proud of is a racist caricature, and I was sort of startled at how the media ate it up instead of flinching.

    The current denizens of the media pack will go along with just about anything so long as it’s “good for ratings/sells papers” because producing revenues is now the whole point of the exercise.


    Furloughing all those boring sticklers for journalistic ethics who wasted their expensive time fact checking to pin down the real truth did great things for the bottom line of the corporations who wholly own the process of deciding how to “frame” what the general public should be allowed to hear.

  • crowepps

    Glenn Beck Urges Listeners to Leave Churches That Preach Social Justice

    Posted 3/8/10
    On his daily radio and television shows last week, Fox News personality Glenn Beck set out to convince his audience that “social justice,” the term many Christian churches use to describe their efforts to address poverty and human rights, is a “code word” for communism and Nazism. Beck urged Christians to discuss the term with their priests and to leave their churches if leaders would not reconsider their emphasis on social justice.

    “I’m begging you, your right to religion and freedom to exercise religion and read all of the passages of the Bible as you want to read them and as your church wants to preach them . . . are going to come under the ropes in the next year. If it lasts that long it will be the next year. I beg you, look for the words ‘social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!”

    Later, Beck held up cards, one with a hammer and sickle and other with a swastika. “Communists are on the left, and the Nazis are on the right. That’s what people say. But they both subscribe to one philosophy, and they flew one banner. . . . But on each banner, read the words, here in America: ‘social justice.’ They talked about economic justice, rights of the workers, redistribution of wealth, and surprisingly, democracy.”

    I agree with those posters here who believe promoting social justice is part of the solution to the abortion controversy, although certainly there are huge differences in exactly how to promote those ends, but I certainly never realized that all of us were actually secretly commies or nazis.
    Next Mr. Beck will discover that all those commies and nazis actually DRANK WATER and BREATHED AIR! and will demand that patriotic, freedom loving Americans stop doing either at once!
  • crowepps

    A dishonest antiabortion campaign premieres in New York City’s subway


    By Tracy Clark-Flory


    Today, the New York City subway system was hit with a series of ads from the organization Abortion Changes You. According to Metro International, they “depict either a woman saying, ‘I thought life would be the way it was before,’ or a man saying, ‘I often wonder if there was something I could have done to help her.'” Presumably, the ads look a lot like the image above, which is featured on the group’s Web site/memorial for terminated fetuses.


    Here’s the thing: I think we should acknowledge that abortion can change you, that it isn’t necessarily an “eh, whatevs” event.  For some women, it may be akin to getting a tooth pulled; for others, though, it results in a profound and haunting loss.


    None of this goes against the dominant pro-choice message, which is that women should be allowed to make their own reproductive choices based on what they feel is right for them. Women have different experiences of abortion and they should be allowed to make different decisions, too.


    That isn’t to say I’m super pumped about the ads, though. They present one side of the story, which is that abortion changes you, period. Not that abortion can change a woman, but that it always does, and that is quite simply a lie. It isn’t the sort of message born of concern for women, but rather a concern for converting women.


    Also, you know what is guaranteed to change you and your life in a profound way? Motherhood. But I don’t recall seeing any subways ads featuring a woman knee-deep in dirty diapers with the text, “I thought life would be the way it was before.”