Take a look at the picture of this billboard.
Do you find it offensive?
Not surprisingly, the Reverend Al Sharpton, a flashpoint figure and known agitator, does, saying it “demonizes women.” He demanded it be taken down. Planned Parenthood agreed, calling it a “condescending effort to stigmatize and shame African-American women.”
The controversy surrounding the billboard created a predictable circus like atmosphere in New York, with Reverend Sharpton threatening a protest in front of the building.
Up until yesterday the billboard, which was funded by the group Life Always, hung in a neighborhood of lower Manhattan. Lamar Advertising, the advertising company who owns the space, pulled it down, citing concerns about the safety of the building’s tenants. They had received threats.
Reverend Sharpton and Planned Parenthood are, of course, entitled to their opinions and objections. But so are those of us who are deeply committed to preserving, promoting and protecting life. And so in that spirit, I have a simple and straightforward question to ask:
Can we not act like the grown-ups we are and actually talk honestly about this horrific trend in general and in the African-American community in particular?
As an advocate for life, it’s not my or any pro-life person’s intent to demonize or stigmatize women. In fact, our actions bespeak just the opposite. You can’t love life until you first love people – and love them enough to tell them the truth.
Here are the facts.
Since 1973, approximately 13,000,000 African-American babies have been aborted. Of the abortions performed each year, over one-third of them are of black children, this despite the fact that only 12% of the population is African-American. Shockingly, in New York City, 60% of black pregnancies end in abortion.
If we continue to put our head in the sand and do nothing, how many more children will be lost? I applaud the good work of Life Always for sparking a conversation and drawing renewed attention to this sorrowful reality.
Truth be told, the tragic and racist vision of Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, to reduce the African-American population, is closer to realization than it’s ever been. Given this haunting reality, I remain perplexed as to why many African-American leaders – including clergy, no less, continue to support this assault on the black population?