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Jennifer Brinker is a reporter for the St. Louis Review and Catholic St. Louis.
Beats: Life issues, Young adult and youth ministries, liturgies and devotions
Geographic areas covered: Parishes and schools in the North City, North County, West County and St. Charles Deaneries.
Photo Credits: Courtesy of DDI MediaTwo billboards on display in the St. Louis area are gaining the attention of motorists with simple, yet to-the-point pro-life messages.
The displays — located in Valley Park at I-44 and Highway 141 and in south St. Louis County at I-55 north of Lindbergh Boulevard — were the work of Mary Simon, a parishioner at Most Holy Trinity Parish in north St. Louis.
One billboard has a solid black background with the words, “The Slippery Slope: January 22, 1973,” in white. The other is red with the message, “Choose Life No Matter What,” written in white.
Disheartened by recent legislation in New York that loosens restrictions on abortion, and a similar effort in Virginia that failed, Simon wanted to convey the message that abortion is wrong.
“I was feeling so demoralized and horrified by these recent bills,” she said. “What came into my mind immediately was the concept of the slippery slope and how we are in the midst of that right now.”
Simon paid for this out of her own pocket, using a small family inheritance she received. She was inspired by a few billboards she’d seen in St. Louis with the message “LOVE.” Those billboards are part of Love on Every Billboard, a national project started by a man in Spokane, Wash., to share positive messages on billboards across the country.
“I thought that was such a neat idea, and it’s speaking to the culture,” Simon said. “So I thought this could be done with a pro-life message.”
The billboards will remain on display through the month of March, but Simon said there’s a possibility of extending the time. The billboards reach nearly 650,000 people a week, according to Photo Credits: Courtesy of DDI Mediaimpression data from DDI Media. The Valley Park billboard has a weekly impression of 239,943. The one in South County has an average weekly impression of 409,027.
There’s no better time than now to get the message out there, Simon said, given recent legislative efforts in other states. In contrast, Missouri legislators recently passed a sweeping measure that would place further restrictions on abortion in the state. HB 126 now heads to the Senate for consideration.
She was just as concerned several years ago when a series undercover videos was released by the Center for Medical Progress, detailing discussions with Planned Parenthood officials about the sale of fetal body parts for research.
“Everyone was alarmed then, and that turned out to be a great push from people who might otherwise slip into apathy,” she said. “I think this is a time where this is going to happen again. People are just becoming more alarmed.”
Simon knows she’s not preaching to the choir with these billboards. And that’s a good thing, she stressed. She added that she hopes other pro-life groups will see the billboards and purchase their own space, too.
“It’s trying to get (the message) out into the culture and counteract the horrific legislation that’s trying to be passed now,” she said.
Our Lady of Guadalupe
for Life is a local nonprofit organization that sponsors pro-life
billboards along area roadways. The billboards feature an image of Our
Lady of Guadalupe, with the message, “Love your Babies, Born &
The billboards also include a phone number for OptionLine
(1-800-712-4357), which connects individuals with pregnancy resource
centers for one-on-one help.
The organization also hosts a regular
Living Rosary for Life at Assumption Church in south St. Louis County.
For more information, call Anna Maria Usselmann at (314) 487-2066.
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