DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - In Dallas, it was the billboard battle about abortion in the black community that became national news. Pastor Stephen Broden, backed by the National Black Pro-Life Coalition, launched the first volley this summer: putting up a billboard in the Pleasant Grove community calling abortion murder, not healthcare.
"It is the number one killer of life in our community," insists Pastor Broden, "above all over pathologies put together."
According to Pastor Broden, the group's mission is to educate the community about what he calls the "scourge" of abortion.
"Abortion is the taking of a human life," says Pastor Broden, "and we have somehow resolved in ourselves as a nation that it is permissible when it is an inconvenience, to take the life of child.
A reproductive justice organization based in Dallas called Afiya flapped back, putting up billboards of their own, depicting smiling black women calling abortion self care.
"Whenever you make a decision that's going to improve the outcome of your life, is going to make life better for you: that is self care," insists executive director Marsha Jones, "you are taking care of yourself, right now."
Jones says the goal of the billboard was not to stoke controversy, but conversation, and to offer support to women still struggling with the shame of having terminated a pregnancy.
"We knew that that billboard would get a response, we didn't think it would be as visceral as it was, but we knew it would get a response."
Did it ever. Along with the story going national, social media scorched earth, and yes, they fielded threats. Still, Jones says she has no regrets.
And offers no apologies: not even to Pro-Choice supporters who fear the smiling message attached to abortion, went too far.
"Have nothing to do with going to the spa, we are not debating that," says Jones with emphasis. "What we are saying is, when women make a radical decision, a radical decision to put themselves first, it can be a form of self care."
Jones says the organization is planning a town hall meeting tentatively scheduled for next month. But, because of the threats guests will be required to register. More details are expected to be released soon.
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