A billboard, nearly four stories tall, depicting a Black child with the text “The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb” leading the viewer to the website ThatsAbortion.com, was put up in Soho late Tuesday.

Anti-abortion activists have been targeting African-Americans in the literature and their advertising recently. Some political analysts believe that a segment of the Black community is ripe for their message because, while most African-Americans are progressive on fiscal issues, there are some who are conservative when it comes to issues like abortion or gay rights.

And using the Black community as a tool against Planned Parenthood is the latest approach by conservative anti-reproductive rights activists. Their tactics include publishing articles on the internet that give a supposed history of racism in the Planned Parenthood movement, claiming that it was originally an attempt at eugenics — the elimination of the Black race. But the visual of the Soho advertisement is sick and quite disturbing, and has been noticed by some public officials.

“This billboard simply doesn’t belong in our city,” said Public Advocate Bill De Blasio. “The ad violates the values of New Yorkers and is grossly offensive to women and communities of color. Women of all backgrounds have a right to reproductive healthcare in New York City, and we must not let the current campaign of attacks undermine New Yorkers’ longstanding support for a woman’s right to choose. A mix of intolerance and bad judgment put this ad up — common decency demands it be taken down.”

De Blasio is right that the ad must come down; it is an affront to women everywhere and a direct attack on Black women in particular. The ad itself is ill-conceived and downright outrageous. It lends itself to many interpretations, the first being that if you are a Black woman you are more likely to have an abortion if you become pregnant. But, subliminally, it is also saying that the fetus of a Black woman is not safe because we have no idea what she is going to do to herself and therefore to the unborn child.

Anti-abortion activists have no shame when it comes to attacking women on choice, but they seem to prey upon African-Americans at a higher rate. I think some of this has to do with the traditional belief that it is okay to objectify Black women; to use our image, our bodies and souls in any way folks deem fit. This has all too often been what the larger American society has felt comfortable doing, and as a woman and a recent mother — a mother of a girl — I take particular offense to it.

I applaud women who understand that they are not ready to have a child and make the choice of how to handle that situation, whether it be adoption or abortion. It is a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body, and they need to do what is right for them. It is not for a bunch of middle- to upper-class white folks to make that decision, or for people who are just insensitive to the needs of women of color and the preservation of their rights and dignity to use our women as a tool in their political games.