Billboard Madness

9 Jun

Today, while driving on the freeway in New Jersey, I saw a billboard that says “Abortion Stops A Beating Heart,” with the symbol for heart substituted for the word.  Let’s leave aside the blatant falsehoods in the statement itself.  After all, by now you probably know that at the point of conception, there is no beating heart.  In fact, during the first few stages of fetal development there is no heart at all.

So, what’s with the billboard?

Billboards, by their very nature, are intended to distract drivers and their passengers from the roadway.  Several years ago, I suffered a car accident when a driver’s attention lapsed due to a billboard for a furniture store.  I’m sure that many others have experienced similar events.  It is absurd to realize that every day, millions of Americans’ lives are put at risk by companies seeking to make money from advertising, but it is even more sickening to realize that every person who zips by the anti-abortion billboard on the freeway, flying by at the speed limit of 65 miles per hour, is distracted by a sign put up by a group that claims to be concerned with saving lives.

Do the groups that put up anti-abortion billboards along fast highways and lonely rural roads realize that every person who sees them is more likely to die as a result?  How can they not be?  Their holier-than-thou message is hardly less distracting than an advertisement for fast food or self storage locations, even if you do not find it as enraging as I do.

The hypocrisy of the billboards is undeniable.  What makes the purported life of an as yet unborn fetus worth more than that of an autonomous human being and his or her passengers?  Worth more than a mother driving home from the office or a father and his children on their way to the dentist?  Of course, these billboards are only a small fraction of the many that line America’s roadways, but they are the only ones that do so with the sole rationale of claiming that “all life is valuable,” while really making a bizarre judgment call about who is worth being put at risk and why.

4 Responses to “Billboard Madness”

  1. Janet June 9, 2011 at 9:18 pm #

    Billboards seem to be a big thing in the anti-choice arena. It does seem really odd that a group that purports to be pro-life might do something that endangers many lives. Maybe they expect that the only people who will look at billboards are passengers? Still, it doesn’t excuse the fact that they are advertising in a way that could do more harm than good.

  2. Ceecee June 10, 2011 at 3:08 am #

    Funny, after living 54 years, I’ve never heard of billboards distracting people and causing accidents, until now. Is it only because there are now pro-life billboards that you disagree with? All of a sudden, there is a hugh and cry that billboards are such a hazard, distracting drivers and causing accidents. If billbaoards were really that dangerous, why haven’t they been outlawed, and not just pro-life billboards, but ALL billboards. I wonder, would you consider a pro-choice billboard to be as dangerous?
    I’ve got an idea, when you see a pro-life billboard, just ignore it, and watch the road. Since you think the pro-life ones are especially distracting and dangerous, you can make a special effort to ignore them, and concentrate on your driving. That should solve the problem for you.
    Or is this just an excuse to silence a message you disagree with. If that’s where you’re coming from, I’ve got news for you. You live in a free society where people have the right to freedom of thought, freedom of speech, and freedom of expression. That means that people who don’t like abortion have the right to get their message out there, whether you agree with them or not. If you don’t like that, you can always move to North Korea or Iran, or some other fascist state. But as long as you live in a free society, you will have to tolerate messages that you disagree with.

  3. Shayna June 12, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

    CeeCee – I suggest that you refrain from moving to Vermont, Alaska, Hawaii or Maine. These four states have all prohibited billboards as they distract drivers and cause accidents.

    I also suggest that you re-read the above post, since it very clearly makes the point that it is idiotic to put up billboards with claims of “saving lives” when, in fact, many studies have shown that these billboards’ very existence endangers lives.

  4. Amanda August 23, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    I wonder how many drivers would process the text of the message separately from the symbols and background designs? Meaning, as they drive past, all they see is a billboard that says, ‘Abortion stops a beating’ with a heart in the background.

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