From welfare reform to single motherhood, images of Black women and girls have often been used to promote agendas and public policies that run counter to their agency and autonomy. A three story billboard placed at the entry of Manhattan of an African-American girl with the tagline “The Most Dangerous Place for an African American is in the Womb” is no exception.
Placed by the anti-choice group Life Always for Black History Month, the ad implies that Black women are reckless and to blame for deaths that occur within African-American communities. It also simplifies the difficult decision that many women face, regardless of race, when choosing whether or not to terminate a pregnancy or exercise their right to the full range of reproductive healthcare services.
Today, following a letter to Peter Costanza, Vice President and General Manager of LaMar Billboards, written by the Women of Color Policy Network, NYU Wagner, Mr. Costanza responded affirmatively that they would remove the billboard. The collective action and public outcry from the New York City Council, Advocates, and Practitioners, among other is directly responsible for their decision to pull the ad.
This billboard is only one of the many attacks on reproductive freedom and services for low-income women across the country. We must remain vigilant and work to ensure that all women regardless of race and income have access to the full range of reproductive health services.