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Ga. billboards link abortion, race

In Atlanta, an antiabortion group’s billboards aimed at black women are stoking debate within the community. In Atlanta, an antiabortion group’s billboards aimed at black women are stoking debate within the community. (John Bazemore/ Associated Press)
Associated Press / February 15, 2010

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ATLANTA - The message on dozens of billboards that went up across the city last week is provocative: Black children are an “endangered species.’’

The eyebrow-raising ads depicting a black child are an effort by the antiabortion movement to use race to rally support within the black community. The reaction from black leaders has been mixed, but the “Too Many Aborted’’ campaign, which so far is unique to Georgia, is drawing support from other antiabortion groups across the country.

“This campaign is in your face, and nobody can ignore it,’’ said the Rev. Johnny Hunter, national director of the Life Education and Resource Network, a North Carolina-based antiabortion group.

The effort is sponsored by Georgia Right to Life, which also is pushing legislation that aims to ban abortions based on race.

Black women accounted for the majority of abortions in Georgia in 2006, even though blacks make up just a third of the state population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nationally, black women were more than three times as likely to get an abortion in 2006 compared with white women, according to the CDC.

“The language in the billboard is using messages of fear and shame to target women of color,’’ said Leola Reis of Planned Parenthood of Georgia.