‘Abortion is self-care’: Texas billboard’s message to black women sparks outrage

A black women’s advocacy group has put up a pro-choice billboard in Dallas that opponents say targets black women for abortions.
A black women’s advocacy group has put up a pro-choice billboard in Dallas that opponents say targets black women for abortions. Facebook screenshot

A billboard in Dallas is asking passersby to #TrustBlackWomen.

Specifically in this case, to trust a black women’s advocacy group that is putting its pro-choice stance on display .

The billboard features three smiling black women and the tagline, “Black women take care of their families by taking care of themselves.” And in bigger, bolder letters: “Abortion is self-care.”

The billboard was paid for by the advocacy group The Afiya Center, which focuses on black women’s reproductive rights and health. It went up about a month after another controversial billboard paid for by an anti-abortion group in the black community.

Abortion is not healthcare,” said the earlier billboard along U.S. 75, put up by Pastor Stephen Broden and the Black Pro-Life Coalition. “It hurts women and murders their babies.”

stephen broden.JPG
The Black Pro-Life Coalition put the “Abortion is not healthcare” billboard up in Dallas in July. Stephen Broden Facebook screenshot

The Afiya Center’s billboard was intended to advocate for a woman’s “complete autonomy” in the abortion decision, according to a statement from The Afiya Center on its Facebook page.

“We are unapologetic in our approach and fight hard to change the harmful reproductive health and abortion policies that directly impact the lives of Black women,” The Afiya Center says on its website.

Plot Twist: The Afiya Center has ALWAYS supported women having access to the FULL SPECTRUM OF REPRODUCTIVE HEALTHCARE...

Posted by The Afiya Center on Tuesday, August 28, 2018

And many agree with that stance.

But among folks who don’t agree, the social media blowback has been swift and far-reaching, with some tweets on the topic being retweeted thousands of times.

In the past few years, according to Vox, anti-abortion movements in the black community have gained larger followings, driven by an “abortion as black genocide” argument.

That argument is centered on statistics that say women of color are five times more likely to terminate a pregnancy than white women, as reported by The Atlantic.

The Afiya Center’s Facebook post, dated Tuesday, came in response to some of the negative feedback the group received after the billboard went up.

The group asked in the comments section of their post, “Do y’all realize the only women who seem to be very against black women accessing the full spectrum of reproductive healthcare services women? Who taught y’all that the only way to live was your way? Who taught y’all that the only way to engage with other women was to tear them down? When you engage with another woman is this how you act?”)

Will a Supreme Court with two Trump-appointed justices overrule the right to an abortion? It’s possible, but not the most likely outcome. Adam Liptak, The Times’s Supreme Court reporter, explains.