'I am grateful for my abortion' billboard spurs controversy in Cleveland area

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A pro-choice billboard campaign is stirring emotions across Cleveland.

The billboard reads, "I am grateful for my abortion," and is a part of a campaign by Preterm, a Cleveland-based nonprofit health center. Chrisse France, executive director of Preterm, said the billboards were installed about two weeks ago, and will stand until mid-June.

"We have a campaign called 'My abortion, My life,' and really what we're trying to do is shift the public conversation from the political rhetoric to the stories of real women," said France.

The billboards, which are up across the Cleveland area, reflect the testimonies of women France says she's heard from.

"We see thousands of women every year as a provider and most often the emotions they express after their abortion is relief and gratitude," said France.

But abortion is one controversial issue with many opinions. Shayonta Bogan expressed her feelings after seeing a billboard in Brookpark near West 130th.

"It hurts because like I said, I don't agree with abortions, so it hurts to see a sign that says, 'I'm grateful for my abortion.' That is just giving permission to get an abortion whenever you get pregnant," said Bogan.

Molly Smith, president of Cleveland Right to Life, reacted to Preterm's effort with this statement:

"Grateful for my abortion" -- really! Talk to the countless women who have had abortions and listen to their broken hearts and you will know without a doubt that women are never "grateful" for their abortions. The billboard campaign by Preterm is one more piece of evidence of the failure of this organization to address the real issues facing women. To say that a woman would be grateful for having had an abortion is saying that women enjoy and are thankful for pain! Totally absurd. And as for their slogan "my body my choice," it is certainly not the woman's body parts that are being sold for obscene amounts of money to the medical industry. It is the body parts of a completely separate and unique human being -- so how can it possibly be "my" body, "my" choice? I find it sad that a business that makes millions of dollars on the backs of women's misery would have the audacity to then turn around and then tell these same women that they need to be "grateful" for the fact that Preterm is there to inflict this pain on them.

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