CHICAGO -- Controversial billboard ads recently unveiled in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood that target the disproportionally high rate of abortion in the black community have been physically attacked by opponents less than a week after they went up.
Two of the three identical ads -- which feature an image of President Barack Obama and the words "Every 21 minutes our next possible leader is aborted" -- were covered with fabric banners with messages scrawled in red paint.
One banner says: "In 21 minutes this sign should be gone." A second banner, which dangled from the billboard Sunday after being blown by the wind, says "Abort Racism."
It was unclear who was behind the latest development in an escalating controversy over the ads and their Dallas-based backers.
The Rev. Stephen Broden, whose organization Life Always has funded what will eventually be 30 billboard ads of this kind in Chicago, has said they are needed to draw attention to the high rate of abortion among African-American women.
Broden, who has the support of Chicago's the Rev. Isaac Hayes, a conservative Republican who last year lost his bid to unseat Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill, and Cedra Crenshaw, a Republican who ran for state Senate, has accused Planned Parenthood of a modern-day eugenics movement.
Planned Parenthood, the city's Black Women for Reproductive Justice, and other pro-choice advocates say the ads stigmatize African-American women and restrict their ability to make personal medical decisions.
Critics also say the ads exploit the image of Obama, who supports abortion rights but has voiced concern over the high abortion rate for blacks.
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