Controversial Billboard Targets Abortions by Latinas

A conservative Latino organization plans to place jumbo billboards around California by Friday with a message that targets abortions: “The most dangerous place for a Latino is in the womb.”

“There’s no other place in the United States where over 200,000 Latinos die in a year,” said Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, which is sponsoring the billboard campaign.

The billboard campaign, styled after a similar highly controversial one in February in New York that targeted abortion among African Americans, is timed to kick off a gathering called “Unidos Por La Vida,” or “United for Life,” on Sunday at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. The gathering, which Aguilar said is expected to draw some 15,000 participants, is to feature Texas Gov. Rick Perry as the keynote speaker.

A similar rally was held in Los Angeles last year.

Like African American conservative leaders who supported the billboard campaign in New York, Aguilar blames groups such as Planned Parenthood for marketing to Latinas and other minority women to encourage them to choose abortion.

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“Organizations like Planned Parenthood live off abortions,” he said. “They know they can target Latina women, who many times are younger, low income.”

“Latina women are victims of abortion, just the like the children being killed,” he said. “We see Latinas as victims, not perpetrators of crime.”

Earlier this year, Planned Parenthood officials criticized the New York billboard campaign, which was organized by a group called Life Always, which opposes abortion. Published reports quoted Life Always officials as saying that they were trying to counter “Planned Parenthood’s targeting of minority neighborhoods.

Planned Parenthood countered in published reports that that the New York campaign was an “offensive and condescending effort to stigmatize and shame African-American women [with] a divisive message around race to restrict access to medical care.”

The group’s reaction to the California campaign aimed at Latinas is similar. Planned Parenthood’s Vice President of Public Affairs Celinda Vazquez says the organization does not target any particular race or ethnicity in their services.

“I’m a Latina and personally it’s disturbing,” Vazquez said, “Planned Parenthood just absolutely believes that every woman regardless of her ethnicity has the right to make informed decisions about her health, of course in consultation with her family and her faith”

The Guttmacher Institute released a report in 2008 revealing that 12 percent of all abortion clinics are located in predominantly Latino neighborhoods.

The Centers for Disease Control says that Latinas account for about 20 percent of all abortions and “had an abortion rate of 20.5 percent per 1,000” women.

The CDC said that while the percentage of abortions accounted for by Latinas rose 18 percent from 1998 to 2007, the abortion rates and ratios among Latinas actually decreased from 2006 to 2007.

And Guttmacher found that the abortion rate among Latinas declined by 14 percent between 2000 and 2008, from 33.5 to 28.7 abortions for every 1,000 Hispanic women aged 15-44.

Fox News Latino reporter Angela Santos contributed to this story.

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An original version of this story incorrectly said that Guttmacher said that 12 percent of Planned Parenthood clinics are located in primarily Latino neighborhoods. The correct information is 12 percent of all clinics that perform abortion are in primarily Latino neighborhoods.