Proponents of abortion got a taste of their own activist medicine recently in Duluth, Minn., when a billboard put up to normalize the killing off of human babies was “edited” within 24 hours of being put up.
The colorful, strangely 1970s-looking billboard displayed the message, “Abortion is Healthcare.” Someone with a can of white paint crossed out “Healthcare” and wrote in “EVIL” earlier this week, according to the Duluth News Tribune.
Kelly Searle, a member of the group driving the billboards, said the vandalism “was the work of just one bad actor and not really representative of the community. And so we feel it’s important to put that same artwork back up.”
Searle created the Minnesota Billboard Project with partner Kristin Brietzke. The organization has set up several signs in the Twin Cities with the goal of making abortion a positive thing, Searle said. The project only recently expanded to Duluth, with its first billboard running from October to November. It depicted a female Paul Bunyan, with the message “no bans here,” Searle said.
The “abortion is healthcare” sign replaced the Paul Bunyan billboard on Monday, and was vandalized later in the evening. The company providing billboard space took it down the next day.
A local reproductive freedom group H.O.T.D.I.S.H. (Hand Over the Decision it’s Healthcare) Militia helped the project set up the Duluth billboards. The militia is a partner of the WE Health Clinic in Duluth — the only abortion provider in northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, according to its website.
Throughout the several months of billboards being up, Searle said they never had a problem with vandalism until now. And a majority of responses to the billboards were positive, she said, so she called the incident an anomaly.
A spokesperson with the Duluth Police Department said officers are currently investigating the incident by reviewing footage from surveillance cameras, talking to businesses nearby and following up on leads.