Pro-Choice Billboards Were Set Up Around New Mexico

They were set up to remind Indigenous women and Women of Color that abortions are safe and legal.

Billboards have been set up around New Mexico to remind women that abortions are safe and legal.

They billboards were set up as part of a campaign led by Young Women United, a group that fights for reproductive justice for women of color. Through activism and programming, they help increase and improve the access women and people of color have to reproductive health care.

The first set of billboards were placed near the U.S.-Mexico border and include phrases like “New Mexicans respect one another,” and “We make our own health care decisions here,” all written in Spanish.

“We’ve learned that many times, Spanish-speaking communities are left out of this conversation,” said Young Women United Executive Director Charlene Bencomo. “It’s often assumed stereotypically that they’re too conservative or too religious to be part of these conversations. So we wanted to make sure that we re-center those voices, and invite them to be part of that convention, and to let the know that their opinion matters and their voices matter in conversations about abortion.”

Young Women United set up the billboards during November’s Native American Heritage Month and also included English billboards that target Indigenous communities.

74% of rural New Mexicans agree abortion should be a personal decision—but access isn’t always easy. Indigenous women who are given federally funded health care can’t access abortion on their reservations. And many rural women live three or four hours from a reproductive care facility.

“Just adding additional barriers to people in a time when they are already dealing with a decision that feels isolating, now they’re being forced to leave the place where they typically receive their health care, where they may have their family and loved ones,” explained Bencomo. “So it was really important to us to place these billboards in a place that was publicly affirming, and that could be that message of support for somebody who just might look up and need it that day.”