Abortion Activists Vandalize San Francisco Pro-Life Subway Advertisements

By Terry Vanderheyden

SAN FRANCISCO, January 16, 2006 ( – A Roman Catholic group that has been running a pro-life ad campaign on the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) has had so many of its signs vandalised that it has gone through all the extra signs that were made, and has even resorted to printing more.

Created by The Second Look Project,, which operates under the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the ad campaign was sponsored locally by the Archdiocese of San Francisco. The aim of the ads, according to Second Look, is to educate the average person about little-known facts about abortion.

Oakland Diocese’ Respect Life Ministry paid $43,200 for the ads, which first appeared December 26 and are scheduled to appear through the end of January. Two hundred and eighty ads appear in BART rail cars while 48 larger versions can be seen in stations. BART spokesman, Linton Johnson, under fire from pro-abortion groups for allowing the advertising, said they cannot refuse the paid advertising given free-speech provisions of the First Amendment.

“We’re not in the business of censorship and don’t believe a government agency should be in the business of censorship,” said Johnson, according to a San Francisco Chronicle report. “It shouldn’t be up to a government official to determine whose opinion is right and whose is wrong.”

Second Look Project’s web site explains the purpose of the campaign: “While abortion has been legal in the US for three decades, polls continue to show that people do not have very basic information about abortion, such as when during pregnancy it is legal, or why it is generally performed. The Second Look Project offers information to help people make informed decisions based on fact rather than emotion.”

One of two ads states, “9 months . . . Because of Roe v. Wade, this is the amount of TIME the U.S. Supreme Court says it is legal to have an abortion.” A second ad states, “The Supreme Court says you CAN choose: After the heart starts beating; After its arms and legs appear; After all organs are present; After the sex is apparent; After it sucks its thumb; After it responds to sounds; and After it could survive outside the womb.” The ads conclude with the question: “Abortion. Have we gone too far?”

“Three decades after Roe v. Wade, many people still do not understand basic facts about legal abortion – like the fact that abortion is legal through all nine months of pregnancy,” explained Cathy Cleaver Ruse, Esq., Director of Planning and Information for the Pro-Life Secretariat at the USCCB, at the launch of the campaign last year. Second Look’s ads first appeared a year ago in the Washington, D.C., metro system.

Pro-abortion activists, such as, have campaigned to have the ads removed. Johnson told the Chronicle that as of Thursday, they had received 29 complaints.

Contact BART:

Customer Service
  Bay Area Rapid Transit
  District P.O. Box 12688
  Oakland CA 94604-2688
  (510) 464-7134
  Or e-mail at:

Contact the local sponsor, the San Francisco Archdiocese, at:

Archdiocese of San Francisco
  One Peter Yorke Way
  San Francisco, CA 94109
  (415) 614-5596
  (415) 614-5658 FAX
[email protected]

View the ads (includes “interactive” versions):

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