A mother in New York City is demanding a pro-life group take down its billboard after she discovered the group used her daughter's image on it. But there's just one problem: the mother signed a release form allowing the modeling company who took the picture to sell it as a stock photo.
The billboard, which appears in the SoHo district in Manhattan, is sparking controversy for its message: "The Most Dangerous Place for an African American is in the Womb." That, say critics, is wrong and even racist.
"Common decency demands it be taken down." Christine Quinn, the Speaker of New York City council, told the London Telegraph. "To refer to a woman's legal right to an abortion as a 'genocidal plot' is not only absurd, but offensive to women and to communities of color."
"I would never endorse something like that," Tricia Fraser, mother of Anissa, 6, whose image appears on the billboard, told WNYW. "Especially with my child's image."
Tricia signed her kids up with a modeling agency two years ago and had their pictures taken. And despite signing a release form that she knew meant the images could become stock photos, she's not happy.
"It's bad enough you're saying this about African Americans, but then you put a child with an innocent face," she added. "I just want the image off of it. Use another image -- just not hers.
The Texas-based group Life Always is sponsoring the billboard.
“During Black History Month, we celebrate our history, but our future is in jeopardy as a genocidal plot is carried out through abortion,” said Life Always Board Member Pastor Stephen Broden, who's also black, in a press release.
According to statistics on the group's website, "An African American baby is three times more likely to be aborted from the womb as a white baby," and "Twice as many African Americans have died from abortion than the combined tolls of violent crimes, cancer, heart disease, accidents, and AIDS."
The billboard is part of an upcoming national campaign and is specifically meant to target abortion provider Planned Parenthood.
"The image was properly licensed through a reputable stock image service," the group told WNYW regarding the controversy. "We'll be looking into the origin of the image and are certainly open to talking to the family directly if they have any concerns."