Updated 02/25/2011 10:22 AM
Crews Dismantle Controversial SoHo Billboard
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A controversial billboard in SoHo paid for by a pro-life group has come down.
Crews started dismantling the ad Thursday night just days after it went up.
It read, "The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb."
The Texas-based group "Life Always" says the purpose behind their campaign was to draw attention to what they call "the tragedy and truth" that abortion is outpacing life in the black community.
Others, though, called it a racist billboard that discouraged a woman's right to choose.
"How dare you. 'The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb.' Who are these people?" said one SoHo resident.
"I feel much better knowing they're taking it down,” said another. “It should have never been up there in the first place."
Religious groups have cited city health statistics that show abortion rates are higher among blacks than other races.
"What can we do to save lives in the black community? Nobody is protesting the fact that 60 percent of all pregnancies, black pregnancies, in New York City, end in abortion. That is abysmal, that is horrible,” said Michael Faulkner, pastor at New Horizon Church.
Still, some advocates for the black community and elected officials say the billboard was plain racist.
"Whatever one's views on women's right to choose; You do not have the right to offend us. You do not have the right to frame it in a racial context," said Reverend Al Sharpton.
"I believe in the First Amendment. I believe in the pro-life movement. I believe that everyone has the right to state their positions and I respect their positions,” said City Councilwoman Letitia James. “But this was an attack on women, women of color and the reproductive rights of all women in general."
Lamar Outdoor Advertising told NY1 it decided to pull the ad because it feared protests scheduled for Friday could turn violent. The ad campaign is scheduled to make other stops in cities around the country, where New Yorkers say it will continue to stir up controversy.