SAN FRANCISCO, September 27, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) - A pro-life billboard advertisement placed in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood was taken down following numerous acts of vandalism mocking the pro-life message, comparing the unborn to animals, and urging their murder.
The billboard, which has been displayed in various cities, shows a black man holding a newborn baby and declaring “A Father’s Joy,” followed by a quote from the Gospel of St. Matthew: “And whoever receives one such child in my name receives me.” At the bottom left of the display the logo of Pro-Life Across America is displayed, with a phone number.
Although the billboard does not mention abortion directly, apparently the mere celebration of the life of an infant was enough to provoke a bitter and hateful backlash in Bernal Heights.
The display was first modified to say “A Mother’s CHOICE” instead of “A Father’s Joy,” followed by a modification to the logo “Pro-life across America” to make it say “PRO-VAGINA Across AMERICA,” with the phone number blotted out.
Area newspapers and blogs winked at or approved of the vandalism.
Blogging for SF Weekly, Erin Sherbert noted that “liberals across San Francisco were thrilled by the work of some left-leaning artists who took it upon themselves to revise a pro-choice billboard spotted along Cortland Avenue. It was like really cheap neighborhood beautification!”
A blogger at Bernalwood posted a photo of the vandalism and quoted resident “Jon” as saying, “It did not take long for the right-wing, anti-choice ad on Cortland at Andover to get a Bernal makeover,” an opinion seconded by many commenters.
San Francisco’s Uptown Almanac remarked that “some nefarious vandals in Bernal Heights hacked apart a creepy Christian billboard depicting John Legend about to eat a baby. The pro-vagina update? Much nicer, if I do say so myself.”
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After the billboard was replaced with a new copy of the original display, it was again vandalized, this time with the image of a shrimp superimposed over the image of the baby, in an apparent attempt to compare an unborn child with a shrimp. The words “KILL THE SHRIMP” were then written on the bottom right, with “KILL” in red letters.
After the second mutilation of the billboard, it was permanently removed. Over the blank space left by the poster, another vandal wrote “BERNAL CHOSE! PRO-JOY!”
The second change sparked criticism from Bernalwood, the blog that had originally posted the photos of the “makeover,” calling it “unclever and rather tasteless. Yuck. Please, make it stop.” SF Weekly called it a “disgrace,” but added: “So the conservatives behind that pro-life billboard finally took a hint. And that’s how politics in San Francisco works.”
Pro-Life Across America President Mary Ann Kuharski told LifeSiteNews.com that she’s surprised by the defacement of one of her organization’s billboards in San Francisco, noting that such vandalism rarely occurs, especially with displays that have a baby’s face on them.
“We have 6,500 billboards and not one of them ever says ‘abortion’, not one of them says ‘pregnancy,’ not one of them has fighting words on it,” noted Kuharski.
However, she noted, such attacks ironically tend to benefit the pro-life message. “We’ve rarely had things defaced, because oftentimes those who think that they’re hurting our cause find out that they’re drawing more attention to what we’re doing, and we’ve actually saved babies lives when people saw only a fraction of what was on there. It draws attention, in other words, to what we’re all about.”