American Morning

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February 24th, 2010
07:00 AM ET

Billboard campaign sparks race debate

A controversial billboard campaign has sparked a debate over abortion and race. The billboards feature a picture of a black infant with the message: "Black children are an endangered species."

Some 80 billboards are now up in the Atlanta area. The groups behind them say abortion clinics target black women and are, in effect, threatening the African-American population.

Catherine Davis is the director of minority outreach at Georgia Right to Life, which co-sponsored the billboards. She and Dr. Artis Cash, founder of Shreveport's chapter of the National Action Network, joined us on Wednesday's American Morning.

Filed under: Controversy
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Tom Terry

    Excellent Catherine Davis! Here in glaring relief are the 2 paradigms: (1) the paradigm of commitment to the fundamental truth, which is Biblical, that all human life has dignity and thus deserves and must have the fullest protection of life – viz. the sanctity of life, and (2) the paradigm that any dignity "assigned to" human life is relative to the competing interests of men and women – those with strength of voice, status, and other modes of cultural power, and thus the program of the taking of life in the womb is one option among several options to improve, enrich, and/or contribute to "life." That two African-Americans were presented provides a more stark and helpful background relief of these two fundamental paradigms because of the dominant cultural view that the African-American minority continues to be on the receiving end of cultural disadvantages. How stark that here we have a minority Christian pastor defending the secularist, non-Biblical paradigm, and a "secular" representative defending the Biblical paradigm.

    March 9, 2010 at 9:22 am |
  2. Carol

    Catherine Davis, I commend you for your belief and strength. Keep educating the people. I pray one day all abortions will cease. I remember when I was 13 years old and abortions became legal, I cried for days. Why would anyone want to kill an innocent child? The safest place a child should be is in a mothers womb. And I recall people yelling that the government needs to stay out of the peoples bedrooms. And today, those are the people crying for the government to find a cure for all the diseases now transmitted by "sex". Killing a child NEVER resolved any problems. Abortions only create more problems. STOP the abortions – all of them.

    March 1, 2010 at 7:43 pm |
  3. Pepper

    Ms. Davis was hired by Georgia Right to Life, a place with a majority white staff that was concerned that they weren't dissuading many black women from having abortions. So they found someone to deliver a message that would work which is why you get this campaign. This message is being championed by other white Conservatives as well who are now calling the abortion of Black children worse than slavery. So this is no more then another Anti-Abortion ploy funded by Conservatives, whites included.

    February 27, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
  4. John in Savannah

    Michelle's Mom. Yes, I forgot. Thanks. I stand corrected.

    February 26, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
  5. Rational Thinker

    ps- Margaret Sanger is dead. She has been for 44 years now. The people who work for Planned Parenthood at this point in time, in the year 2010, aren't adherents of the eugenics movement. Go talk to them. Go talk to anybody that has used their services. PP has departed drastically from their arguably sordid origins.

    February 26, 2010 at 1:41 am |
  6. Cassandra


    Michelle's mother lives at the White House. And thanks for your passion. Some folks fear it; I welcome it!

    February 26, 2010 at 1:07 am |
  7. Rational Thinker

    First off, the context I asked for was in regards to the statistics she cites. As another comment noted, numbers can be skewed to show pretty much whatever you want. Without other measures to compare it to and give it relevance, it would be like saying that I have 10,000 in my pocket. "10,000 what," you ask inquisitively. Exactly.

    "Who limits abortion business claims if not pro-life groups."

    Ummm... the law. Also of note: the medical community (you know them, the ones you refer to as baby killers...) has done a far better job of self-regulating than pretty much any other major industry in the US. (Pharma is not the medical community, that is an industry in and of itself, they do not provide medical care to a single person, and are an entirely different ball of worms) I'm not saying they're perfect, but compared to most professional societies, doctors are pretty tough on one another.

    So perhaps I'm grossly misinformed, but I'm pretty sure there's no such thing as an "abortion business". Its a clinic, a medical clinic, that provides the services REQUESTED of the people who CHOOSE to go to that clinic. Your beliefs (religiously based, I assume) lead you to find their request to be immoral. Some religious denominations believe it immoral to get a blood transfusion or an amputation... should hospitals not be allowed to do those because some people disagree with it? If you want live in a country where the law is decided by religious doctrine, then don't live in America. Period.

    Finally, I've decided that if pro-life people are allowed to slanderously refer to pro-choice individuals as "pro-death" or "pro-abortion", then we should get to refer to you as "pro-unwanted children" and "pro-poverty". Since, you see, both of those are actually associated with taking people who neither want children, nor have the means to support them, and forcing them to have a child.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:48 am |
  8. John in Savannah

    In response to comments that ask for context... DO SOME RESEARCH!


    Let abortion providers tell you what you want to hear, what to think and say. That works for many today, I wonder why? Planned Parenthood was founded by a racist, eugenicist bigot and as a guiding principle, they have not relented from this agenda. Take a look at the facts for yourself. Do you want to say that they mean things are getting worse for African Americans? Why would that be? Could it be the agenda of someone that progress is thwarted by attitudes like those or Margaret Sanger?

    Abortion providers profit from killing babies... there is no way around that fact. They don't do it for free. Pro-life centers are the free alternative. Where there is profit is there not a sales pitch that promotes profit? Is anyone really more comfortable with the explanations of a few abortion profiteers over thousands of men and women who work tirelessly for no compensation–to defend innocent life (young and old) from premature destruction?

    Would you trust a car salesman's info over a that of a consumer protection agency? If so, please look inwardly. If there were no consumer communication and reporting groups, where would limit sales hype? Who limits abortion business claims if not pro-life groups.

    February 25, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
  9. John in Savannah

    Thank you CNN for airing this issue fairly.

    I pray Catherine Davis is heard for her message and not through the prism Artus Cash tried to force upon us–"criminalizing young black women..." He risked sounding like an abortion promoter.
    Who was Dr. Cash referring to that lives in the White House and is a "... grandmother?" As I understand it, the Obama children are still younger and have no children.

    There is no one answer to the problems faced as a race or a nation. Education and sanctity of life do not seem mutually exclusive to me. Freedom is no kind of freedom at all if your best choice is to kill your child for the sake of your education or career. Where is the purity or honor, the integrity or wisdom in that kind of life?

    Self respect–self esteem and self control go hand in hand.

    February 25, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
  10. Cassandra

    Dr. Artis Cash is an embarrassment to the National Action Network and to Reverend Al Sharpton. Healthy black children and healthy black families ARE an endangered species. Whether through abortion, lack of adequate health care, lack of adequate nutrition, lack of an adequate education, lack of adequate housing, inability to earn a living wage, inner-city violence, alcohol and drugs that are PUMPED into the inner city, the facts are the facts.

    I am weary of folks who believe that "just say no" is the panacea for the ills of poverty and ignorance, just as I am weary of folks - who for whatever reason (pain, guilt, fear, ignorance, shame, etc.) will not look at race as a tool used to divide and conquer. There has always been "the one" in any community we can point to who "made it" but that does not negate the masses of people who don't have the same chances and choices and opportunities.

    There are too many common scenarios across this nation for this attack on black folks to be a coincidence. Poor white people had better be on watch. You're next!

    February 25, 2010 at 11:07 am |
  11. David

    Did Dr. Cash even prepare for the interview? Catherine Davis was awesome! She stayed on point and brought to light a little known facet of the pro-death side, targeting minorities for abortions. Houston, TX will soon have one of the largest abortion centers in America and it is located in the middle of minority neighborhoods.
    Thanks Catherine Davis for the job you do.

    February 25, 2010 at 7:56 am |
  12. AnaSaenz

    Yes, there is an alternative to abortion: it is called Medicaid....

    February 24, 2010 at 10:03 pm |
  13. Amelia Carter

    Wow!!!! Why do we have to always lable everthing based on race? Why couldn't the billboard just say our children are endangered. Let's promote abstinence or birth control and help women pave better lives for themselves.!! There wouldn't be a target for black community of women or any woman who doesnt get pregnant.

    February 24, 2010 at 8:51 pm |
  14. Mina, TX

    I agree with the Rev Dr. Cash's comment. You have to deal with the problem before you can tackle the result. The statistics show that
    While white women obtain 60% of all abortions, their abortion rate is well below that of minority women. Black women are more than 3 times as likely as white women to have an abortion, and Hispanic women are roughly 2 times as likely. As a black women it is the social climate that would force a woman to abort her child.

    February 24, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  15. Chase

    HELLLLOOOOOOOO crazy town.

    Man. Seriously, did someone release crazy gas and not tell anyone? It seems Americans are just dead set gung ho on believing any nutty made up "fact" thrown in their way.

    Aside from being factually erroneous, this ad campaign is just plain stupid as heck.

    February 24, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  16. Rational Thinker

    They could not have chosen two more irrational people to discuss this issue. On the one hand you have a woman citing statistics without any context to give them meaning, and on the other a man whose thought process doesn't seem to follow a linear trajectory.

    If you want to claim that an industry is TARGETING a certain population, show proof. Saying that the percentage of abortions performed on black women is greater than their respective proportion of the population does NOT show malicious intent on behalf of abortion clinics. All it shows is that those services are utilized more by that particular population. Perhaps if she compared abortion rates among ethnic groups within a single income bracket, she might be able to produce some useful statistics to prove her case, but she doesn't.

    The guy on the right is not saying abortions are a fix for anything. All he is saying is that you can cry out against abortion all you want, but it is simply a symptom of a larger problem and will not be solved until you address the more pervasive issue of socioeconomic status and education. I don't know where he gets the idea that they're demonizing women, nor why he fixates on that.

    Finally - although she provides no proof of it - even if abortion clinics ARE racially targeting African Americans as part of a hidden agenda to wipe out that part of our population (which would be classified as paranoid conspiracy theories by most sane people), improving EDUCATION would be the first and most efficient step in preventing it from happening. Nobody can force you to get an abortion. Just because a car dealer tries to sell you a lemon doesn't mean you're going to buy it. ITS YOUR CHOICE.

    ps- to whoever cited the Eugenic's Movement, if you're going to bring it up, know its history and understand that the theory of eugenics as you seem to allude to it, as a means for one racial group to overpower and eliminate another, has been thoroughly discredited and debunked for decades now. Go enlighten yourself and read about Margaret Sanger and PP on wikipedia.

    February 24, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  17. Tamara

    They need to compare numbers of pregnancies as well, not just abortions. You know what they can make 90% of statistics say what you want 50% of the time. Let me explain...if in Atlanta on a given day, 100 black women get pregnant and 50 non-black women get pregnant, and of the 100 black women, 20 have abortions, but only 15 non-black women opt for abortion, then the numbers are different. In that case, only 20% of black women chose abortion as opposed to the 30% of non-black women. However, if you just look at the simple numbers, then it seems more black women are choosing termination. Everything is a numbers game and we need to be sure we are comparing apples to apples.

    February 24, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  18. Susan

    Artis Cash is an idiot and I am amazed at the incompetence allowed by Al Sharpton and the NAN. Blacks have been the target of Planned Parenthood since before it was called Planned Parenthood. Why are people so unwilling to speak the truth about the history of abortion? Perhaps this so called "pastor" should be preaching about abstinence before marriage and see if he is making a difference in his community, before he comes on national television pretending to be a man of God who is astounded that someone would speak out against abortion when there are so many children born out of wedlock. It would be great if people would educate themselves before they speak about topics they obviously know little about. For Mr. Cash those topics would be abortion and God.

    February 24, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
  19. Phillip

    I admire Mrs. Davis for her valiant efforts to raise awareness of the alarming amounts of abortions in her state, which I'm pretty sure are high in other states around the country. But, where I disagree with her is the "targeting" moniker that she is labeling on the abortion industry. I feel that abortions are out of control in the Black community because of a lack of education. The fact that so many Blacks are not graduating from high school at the least contributes to creating an environment where a young woman can get pregnant. Also the fact that John King stated that 71.6% of Black women are having children out of wedlock is a HUGE contributing factor to the abortion rates being as high as they are. If two people are married, regardless of race, if the woman is pregnant, she's not going ot have an abortion. I've said it to so many people that when you are poor, there is nothing better to do than have sex. We need to teach our Black people to stay in school, abstain from sex, or if you plan on having it, use protection, or just wait until you're married. Implementing these charted courses starts at home. The Black family structure doesn't exist, and until this issue is fixed, we will continue to have more and more abortions.

    February 24, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  20. Cindy

    I think it is shameful that the opponents of Planned Parenthood are using "the race card" to try and prevent women from seeking abortions. This is already a highly charged debate – if you point the finger of RACISM at it then you are adding fuel to the fire.

    I respect her right to believe that life begins at conception, but I think she needs to respect the fact that not every person (and not every "sister") thinks the same way. Women are making the gut-wrenching decision to go in for an abortion based on their personal circumstances. I am certain not one of those women gave a thought to Ms. Davis's imaginary 59 million person army.

    February 24, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
  21. Julie

    I was utterly offended and outraged with Ms. Davis claims this morning. When are we going to start holding people accountable for their behavior? I could not comprehend Ms. Davis logic ….how in God’s name exactly are abortion clinics targeting these women? Are they being paid, bribed, or forced to get pregnant and then get paid, bribed or forced to terminate these pregnancies? Outrageous! Why not wage a campaign on educating these irresponsible often un-educated and un-employed individuals about making better choices and decisions. It’s insane that Ms. Davis interest/concern is about being how many billion strong –when in fact most of these children are born into a life of misery, ends up prison, foster homes’, others are expected to take care of them or they just become unproductive members of our society. Ms. Davis, your thought process and interest are no better than the claims you make against the abortion clinics. STOP THE INSANITY! And the duplicitous argument-and let people exercise their free will to make decisions even if they are not the best (but hold accountable). Remember free will? It’s a GOD given right and since he is so involved in this issue why not let people live their lives based on that.

    February 24, 2010 at 2:22 pm |
  22. Ronald from Charlotte NC

    First I want to praise Catherine Davis for her work; after reviewing this video and listening to Artis Cash's comments, not only do I think this guy is ignorant he is also clearly a fake pastor (not God fearing). How can he be an advocate of abortions by saying “so many children are being born out of wedlock” and at the same time acting like a pastor? You know I have great respect for Al Sharton and his National Action Network (NAN), even though I don't agree with all of his views and as a "pastor" (and when he is the Politian being an advocate for same sex married, etc.), but to have a spokesman for the NAN who is also saying that “we don't need to iron out our laundry” to solve the problem; listen, the laundry is already hanging the clothes lines and flapping in the wind – the stats states 71.6% of children are being born out of wedlock, this is no secret for the media and the politicians, but this may be a hidden secret in the black communities the same way it may be a secret in the black communities as to the percentages of abortions in comparison to other ethnicity. So Catherine keep doing what is right for the black communities and especially the black females out there who don’t know that there is an alternative to abortion, which I believe starts with education.

    February 24, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
  23. Rosemary Risse

    Hooray for Mrs. Black defending life from conception! Statistics verify that the Black community is indeed being targeted for destruction. Any one who can't see this should seek out Life Dynamics' DVD, Maafa, and see the horrendous scandal perpetrated by the Eugenics Society originally and carried out today by the agenda of Planned Parenthood.

    February 24, 2010 at 1:33 pm |
  24. nancy

    Black children are an endangered species??? PLEASE.... Abortion clinics do not twist anyone's arm into having an abortion. Teach them birth control.

    February 24, 2010 at 11:32 am |
  25. Mac

    I swear. There are too many abortions period. Regardless of race. But it is a woman's right if she so chooses. Who pays for these? Taxpayers? ACORN?

    February 24, 2010 at 10:19 am |