Life Always, the group behind controversial billboards aimed at Planned Parenthood, yesterday announced its decision to halt using the image of a young girl in its media campaign.

The group, an arm of Texas-based Heroic Media, recently unveiled a billboard in New York’s Soho neighborhood that was so controversial, it came down after one day.

The billboard read, “The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb,” with an image of a young African-American girl in the foreground. The mother of the young girl featured on the billboard was shocked at the use of her daughter’s image and demanded an apology from Life Always. In yesterday’s press release, the group said that, though they had every right to use it (the image was taken from a set of stock photos), they would discontinue its use “out of respect for the little girl and her family.”

The billboard was part of the group’s “Planned Parenthood aborts African Americans” campaign, and similar billboards have gone up in Florida and Texas. Shortly after the Soho billboard was unveiled, Planned Parenthood released a statement, accusing Life Always of “using a divisive message around race to restrict access to medical care.”

Life Always board member and Heroic Media founder Brian Follett have equated Planned Parenthood’s work to “genocide” in the past. Follett’s controversial comments have led some former supporters of the group to distance themselves from Heroic’s efforts, while still others continue to speak at functions hosted by the group. Presidential hopefuls Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin have both worked with Heroic Media, and neither has issued a comment regarding Follet’s comments or the group’s controversial media campaign.

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