ACLU Denounces Ads Equating Slavery and Abortion

June 19, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

ATLANTA – The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Georgia denounced the message conveyed by a billboard campaign unveiled today equating abortion in the African-American community with slavery. The anti-abortion organization behind the billboards timed the campaign to coincide with the observance of Juneteenth, a date commemorating the abolition of slavery.

The following can be attributed to Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, ACLU staff attorney:

“This campaign is nothing more than a racist attack on African-American women. Even if we do not agree with her decision, to suggest that an African-American woman who makes the personal and private decision to end a pregnancy poses a greater threat to her own community than hundreds of years of slavery is simply beyond the pale. By insinuating that African-American women cannot be trusted to make decisions about their health care, these billboards only serve to prolong the oppression that so many men and women in this country have struggled for so long to overcome – the very struggle we are supposed to be commemorating today.”

The following can be attributed to Chara Fisher Jackson, legal director of the ACLU of Georgia:

“If those behind these billboards and this hateful rhetoric were truly concerned about the health and welfare of the African-American community, and the meaning of Juneteenth, they would fight to ensure that everyone has access to quality health care; to increase support for programs that build safe schools, safe communities, access to jobs and basic necessities like food and health care. They would focus on reducing alarmingly high rates of infant mortality and maternal morbidity among African-American women and children. These are the issues that deserve to be on a billboard, not the exploitation of slavery at the expense of women’s health.”

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