Activate Series: #18 - Who Will Win the Battle Over Civil Rights Rhetoric? January 11, 2018 12:59

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There’s a new billboard campaign causing quite a stir in Ohio. According to its creator, the Cleveland abortion facility Preterm, the billboard campaign is an attempt to help the community “reflect on the powerful role abortion plays in people’s lives.” Each fill-in-the-blank answer to the phrase “Abortion is ___” includes euphemisms like: a blessing, a family value, life-saving, good medicine, and hope. This desperate attempt to destigmatize abortion isn’t anything new, particularly in the Black communities where Preterm’s 16 billboards are placed. Also not new? The abortion industry’s attempt to position abortion as a civil right and Black women’s supposed lack of access to it as racism.

“They are couching the right to abortion in language that mirrors the civil rights struggle,” says Catherine Davis, president of The Restoration Project, co-founder of the National Black Pro-Life Coalition, and member of the National Advisory Board at Educe. Davis highlights the rhetoric on Preterm's website, which claims: ‘We know how race, discrimination, and poverty shape the reproductive lives of our patients. Because of racial injustice, women of color are both more likely to need abortions and less likely to be able to afford them.’ "This is foolishness!" says Davis. "They are proud to say to the public…that Black women need abortion more.”

Molly Smith, board member of Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio and president of Cleveland Right to Life adds, “The Preterm billboard campaign is a glaring example of how out-of-touch the abortion industry is with women in Ohio.” Cleveland Right to Life is collaborating with The Radiance Foundation on its newest billboard effort to, as founder Ryan Bomberger says, "abort their propaganda." The Radiance Foundation campaign will be a bold and direct answer to Preterm's efforts and reminiscent of Bomberger's and others' impactful billboards in the early part of this decade.

This week’s online course clip reflects on the powerful role billboard campaigns and other strategies play in neutralizing the abortion industry’s civil rights rhetoric and exposing its eugenic roots. This clip focuses on the early part of the 2010s, when a group of courageous organizations, including The Restoration Project and The Radiance Foundation, stirred up a media frenzy and a very revealing response from abortion advocates.

This course excerpt is from Session 6: Awakening, the final course in our Rise Up in the Truth online curriculum. You can listen to Catherine Davis talk more about the Preterm billboards and the history of targeting Black women for abortion on a recent Faith Works Live radio interview, which her quote in this article is from. 

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