Anti-abortion ad on BART angers activists - many placards have been defaced or destroyed.
The outrage is at BART for daring to allow space for ads that contradict - well, now, do they contradict the popular views of the City by the Bay, or just a handful of vocal - and what appears to be actionable - activists?
"I think every woman has noticed them,'' said Suzanne "Sam" Joi, a member of Code Pink, a social justice and anti-war group. "I couldn't believe BART would allow something like this. Why are they doing this?''Political views or personal opinions are not new to BART. It appears that it has had a long-time practice of giving ad time to more than commercial interests:
But a difference of opinion is not enough for those who want to see the ads removed:
BART officials say they had little choice but to post
the ads, given the free-speech provisions of the First Amendment. The transit district also has a policy of accepting point-of-view advertising and has displayed other political material -- including advertising from its employee unions during last year's contract talks.
"We're not in the business of censorship and don't believe a government agency should be in the business of censorship,'' Johnson said. "It shouldn't be up to a government official to determine whose opinion is right and whose is wrong.''
Many public transportation agencies allow political or point-of-view advertising on their systems, including Muni, which is displaying anti-war ads.
The problem is, of course, that the ads present the cold, hard truth behind abortion - and it is not a comfortable view to face when you are a pro-choice "activist."
Critics of the ads also seem to be taking matters into their own hands. Hundreds of the ads have been defaced with markers, had stickers placed over them or have been torn down and ripped up, according to
Monika Rodman, coordinator of the group that placed the ads.
"The defacement has taken to religious epithets, profanity, everything you can think of,'' she said. A billboard at the MacArthur station in Oakland was torn to shreds, she said, and mini essays were written on others.
We have, indeed. Let's end the slaughter now.
The campaign features two ads, each slickly produced and featuring a blurry photograph of a woman against a turquoise background. One ad, headlined "9 months" in large letters, features nine months of a calendar and reads: "Because of Roe vs. Wade, this is the amount of time the Supreme Court says it's legal to have an abortion."
The other contains the message: "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, after it could survive outside the womb.''
Both ads conclude with the tagline "Abortion: Have we gone too far?''