The tidal wave of right-wing politicians elected in 2010 sparked an unbridled anti-choice campaign that has unleashed nearly 1,000 increasingly radical anti-abortion bills across the country. Following a “conceived in rape” tour that aims end a sexual assault victim’s right to choose, a burgeoning billboard campaign seeks to blame minority women for high abortion rates. Across the country, groups like Lifehave have set up billboards in minority neighborhoods claiming, “Every 21 minutes, our next possible leader is aborted.”
Now the movement is branching out. The right-wing advocacy group Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles launched a new billboard campaign this week in Los Angeles directed at abortion providers in Latino communities. Insisting that “Latinos are being targeted by organizations that promote abortion like Planned Parenthood,” Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles is putting up billboards stating, “El lugar mas peligroso para un Latino es el vientre de su madre,” or, “The most dangerous place for a Latino is in the womb”:
The billboard campaign was launched this week in part to “kick off” the “Unidos por la Vida” (United for Life) event being held at the Los Angeles Sports Arena this Sunday, which will feature anti-Planned Parenthood activist Lila Rose and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R). Unidos por la Vida benefits the anti-choice Latino group Manto de Guadalupe, which was founded by actor Eduardo Verastegui in December 2005 with the mission of “promoting adoption.” Verastegui — who starred in the anti-choice movie Bella — announced plans in January “to build the largest pro-life clinic in the U.S. to be located in Los Angeles.” According to anti-choice activists Jill Stanek, proceeds from Unidos por la Vida will go to build that clinic.
The irony here is that by targeting organizations like Planned Parenthood, these right-wing groups are exacerbating the root causes behind the higher abortion rates in minority communities. Inadequate health insurance, substandard health care, ineffective use of contraceptives, and poor sex education often leave abortion as the only resort choice for women, particularly those in low-income areas. Planned Parenthood, however, provides these very health services needed that help prevent abortion as a last resort.
And so many minority organizations are joining together to condemn the campaign. The National Latina Institution for Reproductive Health slammed it as “nothing more than political ploys designed to stigmatize Latina women and communities of color” and urged the swift removal of the billboards. Decrying “the anti-woman, anti-immigrant, anti-worker reality” Americans face today, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice (CLRJ) said, “These ads create a place for hate mongers to hide behind.”