We are shocked to see banners falsely claiming that "Abortion hurts women" hanging from the City’s publicly managed lamp posts on Market Street in San Francisco. This statement is false, and harmful to women and girls. The display contradicts City policies and practices. We call on the Mayor to take the banners down, and alternatively broadcast accurate, positive public health messages about reproductive health.
1. Abortion is safe. Access to legal abortion services is essential.
Access to legal and affordable family planning health care services including abortion has been critical for expanding economic, educational and professional success and emotional satisfaction for women, the men and children in their lives and for communities as a whole. Denied abortion care can perpetuate poverty.
The best birth control can sometimes fail. About 1 in 3 U.S. women have at least one abortion.
According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, abortion is one of the safest medical procedures. The risk of death is 12 times higher for carrying a pregnancy to term, compared with abortion, in the U.S. (1)
Too many women routinely lost their lives from illegal abortions before 1973. Today, deaths from abortion have all but disappeared.
2. State and federal legislation increasingly aim to defund reproductive health care services and limit women’s rights.
Campaigns to defund and stigmatize abortion, and impose repressive views about sexuality, disempower and subordinate women and girls, and prevent them from choosing and using the vital reproductive health care services they think best. In addition to legislation, tactics include violence against abortion providers, and harassment of patients at health centers. These actions hurt women and girls.
3. San Francisco must preach what we practice.
We can be proud that San Francisco and California policies aim to support women’s health through accessible, affordable reproductive health care services, including abortion care. But our public pronouncements matter.
By approving these banners for prominent display on public property on Market St., San Francisco’s “Main Street,” the City contributes to undermining women’s personal and private medical decisions, and undermining public health.
It is further troubling that these false statements are posted just outside of major commercial institutions, including See's Candy, First Republic Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, and E-Trade, implying that these institutions may believe that "Abortion Hurts Women." We hope that they do not.
The banners violate City regulations requiring that they display an accurate date for the related event, and avoid lamp posts that also display holiday snowflakes. The City should improve and enforce these rules to serve the public's interests.
(1) Women’s Health STATS & FACTS 2011. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. p. 2. https://www.acog.org/~/media/NewsRoom/MediaKit.pdf
We are shocked to see banners falsely claiming that "Abortion hurts women" hanging from the City's publicly managed lamp posts on Market St. in San Francisco. This statement is false, and harmful to women and girls. The display contradicts City policies and practices.
San Francisco’s Mayor and elected leaders should take a stand against this statement, and call it out for the lie that it is.
They should advocate proactively for public health policies, services and messages that encourage women’s right to choose the best course for their own reproductive health.
We call on the City to Take Down the Banners.