Groups Say 'Black & Beautiful' Pro-life Ads Racist

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A new pro-life campaign in California seeking to combat abortion in the black community is drawing charges of racism from Planned Parenthood and pro-choice advocates.

The state currently leads the nation in abortions, with more than 214,000 performed in 2008. And national statistics suggest pregnant black women are three times as likely to have the procedure.
 
In response, The Issues4Life Foundation and The Radiance Foundation have launched a pro-life billboard campaign with the goal of saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of black babies aborted in America each year. 

"The impact of abortion in the black community is the Darfur of America," Walter B. Hoye II, president of the Issues4Life Foundation, told Life Site News.

CBN News spoke with Concernced Women for America CEO Penny Nance about the billboard campaign and criticism surrounding its message.  Click play for her comments following Efrem Graham's report.

The signs in question contain the message "Black & Beautiful" and are going up in largely black communities in Oakland, Calif.

"I had an appointment with death. My mother's name was in a book," one pro-life advocate said at a news conference Saturday. "There was an appointed time for me to die, and if God hadn't broken that appointment, I wouldn't be here today."

But Planned Parenthood and California pro-choice groups are calling the ads racist. They say the "black & beautiful" slogan is too close to the "black is beautiful" cultural-pride campaign made popular in the 1960s.         

"The fact that this has been co-opted is something that is obviously only meant to divide us. I think our community can see right through it," said Alicia Walters, with Trust Black Women California.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., has also spoken out against the billboards.

"I am deeply offended by the race-based billboards that are being displayed in my congressional district by the Radiance Foundation and Issues4life," she said in a statement.

"These billboards stigmatize women of color and perpetuate myths about parenting skills and the types of women who seek and use abortion services," Lee added.

But the organizations behind the billboard say it is Planned Parenthood that targets poor black women and deny black children the right to live.
    
Planned Parenthood dismissed the charge.

"The reason why there is a different rate of abortion is because those communities lack access to preventive health care services," Lupe Rodriguez, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood, said.

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Efrem Graham

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Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at Facebook.com/EfremGrahamCBN.