Anti-Abortion Billboard Comes Down

The billboard was first reported by NBC New York

By Andrew Siff
|  Saturday, Sep 17, 2011  |  Updated 3:05 PM EDT
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Watch workers dismantle the anti-abortion billboard in SoHo.

Watch workers dismantle the anti-abortion billboard in SoHo.

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An incendiary billboard which stirred a national debate and reignited a war of words on abortion after it was reported by NBC New York was taken down Thursday night.

Workers on an electric crane, four stories high, took down the sign from the side of a building at Sixth Avenue and Watts Street in Manhattan, near the Holland Tunnel.

The billboard shows the image of a little girl and reads: "The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb."

The group that paid for the message, Life Always, had said it was intended to counter the efforts of Planned Parenthood.

The sign company, Lamar Outdoor Advertising, didn't explain its decision to remove the billboard even though Life Always had paid for three more weeks.

For its part, Life Always said it "strongly disagrees with Lamar Outdoor's decision to remove the billboard in SoHo, but the billboard's message holds true, and truth has a place in the public square."

Earlier in the week, the group said it was trying to highlight its belief that Planned Parenthood targets minority neighborhoods with abortions. Their claims outraged many New Yorkers; the Rev. Al Sharpton and City Councilwoman Letitia James had planned a protest for Friday, before it was removed.

As the giant anti-abortion message came down, critics said they were happy to see it go.

"This billboard is really damaging. There's a strong subtext here. So we said please take it down, and they said they would," said Nicole Mason of the Women of Color Policy Network at NYU.

The group had written a letter to Lamar Outdoor, asking for the billboard's removal.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said he was "relieved" that the sign came down.

"In the few short days since this billboard was put up, countless New Yorkers responded with collective revulsion to the divisive and ugly nature of its message," he said. "Clearly their voices have made a difference."

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