'19,000 Future Fans Aborted:' Anti-Abortion Billboard Targets Alabama Football Fans

A billboard erected in Alabama has stirred controversy and again placed a spotlight on a controversial abortion law passed by the state's legislature earlier this year.

The billboard in question appeared in Tuscaloosa, Alabama earlier this week and was photographed by several people, who then shared it to social media. One such tweet — which quickly went viral — captioned the photo of the billboard as 'ABORTION NATIONAL CHAMPS!!" That tweet has since been deleted.

The display includes the address to an anti-abortion website, ttownfacts.com, and declares Tuscaloosa, which the billboard references as "Title Town," as the "abortion capital of Alabama."

"17 National Championships, 19,000 future fans aborted," the billboard reads, referring to the 17 national titles claimed by the University of Alabama football team.

Lamar Advertising, the company who rents out the billboard space, told AL.com that the ad was purchased by an "anonymous donor." The company did not respond to Newsweek's request for comment by publication, and it is unclear how long the billboard will be on display in Tuscaloosa.

Upon viewing the ttownfacts website, users are presented with FAQs surrounding abortion procedures as well as statistics regarding abortion for the United States, Alabama and the city of Tuscaloosa. According to the website, Alabama makes up 0.9 percent of all abortions in the United States. The website also says that 3,148 of the 6,063 abortions in the state in 2017 were completed in Tuscaloosa.

The website also states that there were 610 fewer births (2,538) in the city than abortions in 2017. According to ttownfacts, the statistics presented on the website were obtained from the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization that focuses on sexual health and reproductive rights. Planned Parenthood has also used statistics from the Institute in various materials.

Alabama Abortion billboard
A digital billboard in Tuscaloosa, Alabama names the town as the "abortion capital of Alabama," citing 19,000 future fans as being aborted. The billboard, which was paid for by a "anonymous donor" comes months after the state passed a law that bans most abortions. Twitter

Viewing research from Guttmacher, the Institute cautions that not all abortions performed in Alabama were necessarily for residents of the state nor do the statistics represent the only women in the Yellowhammer state who might have sought an abortion. In both cases, the Institute says, women from neighboring states could have traveled to Alabama for the procedure, while Alabamians might have gone to another state.

While data is only available up to May 2018 for Alabama, the likelihood of women from the state traveling elsewhere for an abortion could soon see an increase. Earlier this year, the state legislature passed the Human Life Protection Act, a law that is widely considered to be the most restrictive abortion law in the U.S.

According to the law, women may only obtain an abortion in the case of medical emergency where it is clear that the fetus cannot survive outside the womb and the mother's life is at risk to continue with the pregnancy.

The law does not allow exceptions for women who conceive a child as the result of rape or incest, and establishes that anyone who performs an abortion can be charged with a felony. However, women who seek an abortion would not be charged with a crime.

Alabama's law is currently being challenged through various lawsuits.

The law stirred significant controversy even as other states including Missouri, Mississippi and Ohio, enacted laws to restrict abortions once a fetal heartbeat has been detected. Generally, a fetus' heartbeat can be found at six weeks in a pregnancy, a fact that often draws criticism from pro-abortion activists since some women do not discover they are pregnant until weeks later.

Currently, three clinics in Alabama perform abortions. They are located in Huntsville, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa.