DALLAS, SEPTEMBER 12, 2018 --
Community and religious leaders from throughout Dallas and surrounding Texas cities have spoken out about the "misleading" and "irresponsible" billboard erected in Oak Cliff claiming "Abortion is Self-Care."
In an open letter to the Dallas community, they identify the risks of coercion and the physical and mental health concerns posed by abortion. The letter further explains that there is "real care" available for mothers and families in need and calls for a dialogue about the challenges facing our community, instead of a billboard selling "abortion as a solution with hashtag simplicity and no account for the complexity of the questions and risks involved."
After being interviewed by local news about the billboard backlash, Becky Visosky of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee, reached out to community partners about her concerns. The response was overwhelming.
In less than a week, 39 groups and churches from throughout Texas signed on to the letter, including African Americans for Life Founder April Keese; former Planned Parenthood manager, now CEO of "And Then There Were None,"
; President of the international prayer campaign 40 Days for Life
; Students for Life of America leader
along with student leaders from 3 Texas universities;
Dr. Mayra Thompson, OB/GYN
with fellow members of the Catholic Physicians Guild of Dallas; Senior Co-Pastor of Christ for the Nations
, along with members of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, Full Gospel Holy Temple, and The Village Church; as well as representatives of local maternity homes, pregnancy help centers, and post-abortion care ministries.
Open Letter to the Dallas Community:
We as religious and community leaders felt called to speak up about the dangerous propaganda erected over the streets of Oak Cliff in Dallas. This sign claiming that "ABORTION IS SELF-CARE" is not only misleading, it is irresponsible.
First -- abortion is not about a woman "caring" for herself. Instead, it is often those around her (partners, family, school, job) pushing her to abort to meet their own needs and agenda (study reveals 64% of women feel pressured to abort, which may escalate to violence; 79% are not told of available resources). Second -- abortion brings with it a multitude of health risks, mental and physical (study shows 65% of women suffered symptoms of post-traumatic stress after abortion, 32% suffer health complications, 65% are at a higher risk for clinical depression, suicide rates are 6 times higher).
Forced Abortion in America: A Special Report, theunchoice.org.
These statistics are further supported by our personal experiences ministering to women who come to us overwhelmed by grief and often traumatized by their abortion. They feel alone, finding little comfort in a culture that tells them they have no reason to be upset. This billboard sells abortion as a solution with hashtag simplicity and no account for the complexity of the questions and risks involved.
Even more disconcerting is the absurd implication in the billboard's message that women can best care for their families by killing their children. This is a tragic cheat. We owe the women and families in our community, particularly those who are struggling to make ends meet, more than "death is the best option." The blatant racial targeting of this message raises further concerns about the effects of this fatalistic agenda on our minority communities.
We owe real solutions, real care, that include practical resources, emotional support, and avenues for personal development. The good news is that help already exists! There are countless agencies and charities in Dallas and across the U.S. that CARE about families -- providing free or low-cost help. These organizations stand in stark contrast to the multi-million-dollar-abortion
industry in Dallas alone.
We invite the author of this billboard, the Afiya Center, to enter into a real dialogue about the challenges that face our community and a partnership to spread the word about the crucial resources that exist and need to be developed to meet the needs of our families. Women deserve better, and we can do better.
A Concerned Community
/s/ Marianne Allen
Sr. Co-Pastor, Christ for the Nations Church
/s/ Don Anderson
The Village Church
/s/ Fr. Thomas More Barba, O.P.
Chaplain, University of Dallas and
Rector of the Church of the Incarnation
/s/ Carmen Beale
Valley Bible Church
/s/ Sabrina L. Bolton
/s/ Delerna V. Edwards
/s/ Jean James
/s/ Deborah Perrin
/s/ Marion Washington
/s/ Marjorie Williams
/s/ Semmie Williams Sr
Full Gospel Holy Temple
/s/ Marthalicia Burkle
Director, Mater Filius Dallas
/s/ Shawn Carney
President/CEO, 40 Days for Life
/s/ Tom Clark
State Culture of Life Chairman
Texas State Council, Knights of Columbus
/s/ Carolyn Cline, President/CEO
Involved for Life, Inc.
Downtown Pregnancy Center
Uptown Women's Center
Sonograms On Site
/s/ Andrew Collart
University of Dallas Crusaders for Life
/s/ Nydia P. Correa
Executive Director, Guiding Star El Paso
/s/ Sean Doyle
Mustangs for Life
Southern Methodist University
/s/ Maria Eichhold, MSW
Executive Director, In My Shoes
/s/ Aine Fitzgerald
Director, 40 Days for Life Waco
/s/ Heather Gardner, Executive Director
Central Texas Coalition for Life
/s/ Karen Garnett
Vice President of Community Relations
and National Expansion, Heroic Media
/s/ Walter Haskins
/s/ Roy Heyne, M.D.
/s/ Mayra J. Thompson, M.D.
/s/ Jeffrey R. Thompson, M.D.
/s/ Cesar Termulo, M.D.
Catholic Physicians Guild of Dallas
/s/ Laura Ibarrola
Texas Christian University Students for Life
/s/ Abby Johnson
CEO, And Then There Were None
/s/ Jettie Johnson
Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship
/s/ April J. Keese
Founder, African Americans for Life
/s/ Eileen Kuhlmann
Director, Project Rachel Dallas
/s/ Bishop John Lawson
Children of God's Ministry
/s/ Susan McKinney, Vice President
/s/ Mary Reddan
/s/ Christine Melchor
, Executive Director
/s/ Theresa Camara, Program Director
Houston Coalition for Life
/s/ Ingrid Meyer
Director, Project Gabriel Dallas
/s/ Ronda Kay Moreland
Board Member, Birth Choice of Dallas
/s/ Lauren Muzyka,
Executive Director Sidewalk Advocates for Life
/s/ John Pisciotta, Director
/s/ Robert Lehman, Clergy Outreach
/s/ Susan Platt
Director, 40 Days for Life Dallas
/s/ Reg Platt
Facilitator, Project Joseph Dallas
/s/ Joe Pojman, Ph.D.,
/s Deirdre Cooper, Public Policy Analyst
Texas Alliance for Life
/s/ Raymond J. Reeves
Chairman, Corpus Christi Hope House, Inc.
/s/ Marty Reid,
/s/ Melia Reid
Trinity Family Church
/s/ Aurora Tinajero
Radio Host, Celebrando la Vida
/s/ Becky Visosky,
Catholic Pro-Life Committee
/s/ Kyleen Wright
President, Texans for Life Coalition
/s/ Sarah Zarr,
TX Regional Coordinator
Students for Life of American