NEW YORK, March 1, 2011 ( –  Archbishop Timothy Dolan has penned an article decrying the “intolerance” that led to the tearing down of a New York billboard decrying the scourge of abortion in the African American community.


The Manhattan billboard was erected last Tuesday. It showed an image of a young African-American girl below the words: “The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb.” Two days later, the image was torn down amid a clamor of outrage from liberal commentators and city council members.

The abortion epidemic among African Americans is particularly severe in New York, dubbed the “abortion capital of the world.”  In 2009, 59.8 percent of black pregnancies in the city ended in abortion, compared to 41 percent in the overall city population – already double the national rate. There were 40,708 induced abortions in the black community that year, and only 27,405 live births.

“Being confronted by the truth can often be unpleasant,” wrote Dolan in a Feb 25 blog post on the Archdiocese’s web site, where he compared the pro-life effort to other human rights campaigns. “That’s why those who fight so hard to eradicate world hunger will show us what hunger does, with a picture of a starving child, covered with flies and sores. Does it disturb us to face that truth, an image we’d rather not see or think about?  It should, even as it spurs us to action.”

“Is that message unpleasant?  Is it upsetting?  Does it get our attention? Yes! Because the message is somberly true,” he wrote. Dolan criticized elected officials for their vehement opposition to the ad: Leticia James, an African-American Brooklyn Council Member, said the ad “borders on racist,” while City Council Member Christine Quinn condemned the ad as “fear-mongering.”

“Are they claiming that free speech is a right enjoyed only by those who favor abortion or their pet causes? Do they believe that unpleasant and disturbing truths should not be spoken?” wrote Dolan. “Or are they afraid that when people are finally confronted with the reality of the horror of abortion, and with the toll that it is taking in our city, particularly in our African-American community, that they will be moved to defend innocent, unborn, human life?”

Read Dolan’s full blog post here.