If you want people to pay attention, plastering your message across Times Square is a no-brainer. That's exactly what Planned Parenthood is doing. On Monday, the organisation launched the Bans Off My Body campaign with a billboard in Times Square and a six-figure digital ad buy, Refinery29 is exclusively reporting.
"Every person deserves the right to control their body, their life, and their future," Leana Wen, MD, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement provided to Refinery29. "We cannot live freely and move fully in the world when our basic right to access the reproductive healthcare we need, including safe, legal abortion, is under attack. Our bodies are our own — if they are not, we cannot be truly free or equal. We will show everyone the strength of our fierce and unrelenting opposition to these bans and any attempt to take away our fundamental right to make decisions about our bodies. Now is the time to unite, stand up, and make sure we all have the opportunity to live full and healthy lives."
The campaign comes amid an unprecedented number of abortion bans and restrictions around the country, from the threats to shut down the last abortion clinic in Missouri, to jailing doctors for providing care, to unconstitutional "foetal heartbeat" bans introduced in over a dozen states including Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Missouri, and signed into law in five states. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 378 abortion restrictions were introduced between January 1 and May 20 of this year alone.
Over 180 CEOs across the U.S. signed a letter recently denouncing the attacks on reproductive rights, including the recent wave of extreme abortion bans, as "bad for business." They include Rebecca Minkoff, Diane von Furstenberg, Twitter's Jack Dorsey, Glossier's Emily Weiss, The Wing's Audrey Gelman and Lauren Kassan, Birchbox's Katia Beauchamp, and Refinery29's CEO, Philippe von Borries.
Celebrities and other prominent people have spoken out, too: Over the weekend, comedian Tiffany Haddish announced that she is postponing her Atlanta show over Georgia's abortion ban. Ariana Grande donated proceeds from her Atlanta concert to Planned Parenthood. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington state, opened up about her abortion in an op-ed in The New York Times. Actress Busy Philipps recently shared the story of the abortion she had when she was 15.
The billboard will be on display in Times Square through July 1.