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Controversial billboards link abortion, race

ATLANTA - The message on dozens of billboards across the city is provocative: Black children are an "endangered species."

The eyebrow-raising ads featuring a young child are an effort by the anti-abortion movement to use race to rally support within the black community. The reaction from black leaders has been mixed, but the "Too Many Aborted" campaign, which so far is unique to Georgia, is drawing support from other anti-abortion groups across the country.

"It's ingenious," said the Rev. Johnny Hunter of the Life Education and Resource Network, a North Carolina-based anti-abortion group aimed at African-Americans that operates in 27 states. "This campaign is in your face, and nobody can ignore it." The billboards went up last week in Atlanta and urge black women to "get outraged."

Black women accounted for the majority of abortions in Georgia in 2006, even though blacks make up just a third of the state population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Anti-abortion advocates say the procedure has always been linked to race. They claim Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger wanted to eradicate minorities by putting birth control clinics in their neighborhoods, a charge Planned Parenthood denies. "The language in the billboard is using messages of fear and shame to target women of color," said Leola Reis, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Georgia. - AP

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