OAKLAND (CBS 5) – Images on a series of billboards appearing in Oakland and other Bay Area locations have caused some to say the anti-abortion message is blatantly racist.
A sign on Foothill Boulevard is one of dozens that has appeared recently depicting a black baby with the message “black and beautiful.” The sign directs people to the website toomanyaborted.com/ca.
Critics say the signs amount to a scare tactic against African Americans, and demoralize people of color by singling them out in relation to the abortion issue. East Bay Congresswoman Barbara Lee is among people weighing in on the billboards.
“These billboards stigmatize women of color and perpetuate myths about parenting skills and the types of women who seek and use abortion services,” Rep. Lee said. “No woman’s choice should be subjected to scrutiny based on her ethnic background.”
Walter Hoye runs the Oakland-based Issues 4 Life Foundation, which put up the billboards all over East and West Oakland. He said the purpose is to make people aware that the number of abortions performed on black women is disproportionate to the population.
“Because we are talking about it, I think this campaign is successful,” said Hoye. “It’s time we sat down and asked ourselves the question – do these numbers actually reflect our values as a people.”
In all, about 60 billboards have gone up with funding help from the conservative Radiance Foundation, which is based in Georgia. Hoye declined to comment on the cost of the Oakland signs.
The current billboards will be taken down by July 10th, but Hoye said similar messages will come in the future. The campaign was also underway in Atlanta, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.