Cleanup Held Near Anti-Abortion Ads Featuring Obama

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCChicago.com

    In their own little way of "we told you so," a group of volunteers on Saturday cleaned up a lot where anti-abortion billboards featuring an image of President Barack Obama were hung.

    The Chicago Abortion Fund's Executive Director, Gaylon Alcaraz, said the cleanup was a symbolic
    effort to highlight that her group and others are committed to improving the community.

    The same group protested the arrival of the billboards earlier this month, predicting the group which sponsors the ads wouldn't invest in the community.

    "People from outside of this community come into this community for shock value and a little news attention," she said at the time.  "Then they'll leave and they won't do anything for these communities."

    Alcaraz said the group that put up the billboards -- an organization called Life Always -- did nothing about the trash-strewn lot where they appear.

    The ads carry Obama's picture with the tagline, "Every 21 minutes a future leader is aborted."

    The Texas-based Life Always defended the billboard campaign.

    Pastor Stephen Broden said Obama's face was specifically chosen to target African-Americans on the city's South Side because it's where the disparity in abortion rates is occurring.

    "The highest level of success obtained by any African-American has been obtained by Barack Obama,'' he said.  "We're simply saying to the community that we could be aborting the next leader of the free world. The next person who can contribute to humanity."

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black women accounted for more than 36 percent of U.S. abortions in 2007, the second highest in the nation.

    Broden said he stands by his group's "confrontational truths'' because of those statistics.

    "We're being accused of race baiting. But the numbers are irrefutable and undeniable,'' Broden said.  "I'm an African-American, and we're coming to the black community because we are a part of the black community."

    Following the cleanup, the Chicago Abortion Fund volunteers distributed information on women's healthcare and low-cost birth control options.