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Women's group: Controversial Dallas 'abortion is self-care' billboard to remain despite backlash

A group that received backlash over a pro-abortion message that targeted black women on a Dallas billboard is refusing to back down. (EVA HAMBACH/AFP/Getty Images)

A group that received backlash over a pro-abortion message on a Dallas billboard is refusing to back down.

What's the issue?

The Blaze previously reported on the controversy that began when The Afiya Center posted a picture on Facebook of a billboard that states “Abortion Is Self-Care.”

Pro-life advocates sharply criticized the billboard. The group was also criticized for targeting black women in the ad.

“I knew we were going to get reactions from Black women that were really strong, but I thought they would want to know what we mean. I really didn’t expect such a visercal [sic] backlash,” Afiya Center executive director Marsha Jones told Essence.

The Afiya Center's website describes itself as a reproductive justice organization in North Texas founded and directed by black women.

Its stated mission is to “serve Black women and girls by transforming their relationship with their sexual and reproductive health through addressing the consequences of reproduction oppression.”

In response to Jones’s billboard, Pastor Stephen Broden and the Black Pro-Life Coalition put up its own billboard that states: "Abortion is not healthcare. It hurts women and murders their babies.”

“I was enraged when I saw that,” Jones told Essence. “You can’t put up a billboard that doesn’t have factual information. You are attaching shame and blame to Black women’s choices.”

“A woman’s body cannot, should not be legislated, and hypocritical attempts to do just that are acts of ideological and political warfare,” she added.

The Right to Life Michigan website states that 36.0 percent of all abortions in the U.S. in 2014 were performed on black women. But only about 13 percent of the total population is black.

According to  2017 Planned Parenthood statistics, about 360,000 of its 2.4 million patients are black.

How was it defended?

Jones remained unapologetic about the billboard.

“We will not take the billboard down,” Jones told Essence. “We said it. We meant it.”

The Essence article starts off by saying:

"Audre Lorde, the prolific Black Feminist theorist and activist, self-described as a 'Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,' taught us that, 'Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.' ”

And that is the message behind the billboard, the Essence article stated.

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