JEFFERSON COUNTY — Jefferson County Right to Life has installed a pair of new billboards along Highway 34 in Jefferson County.
The billboards are aimed at encouraging expectant mothers not to get an abortion and instead to consider giving their unwanted child up for adoption. The organization now has three billboards in the county. One of those, which says “Choose Life,” was erected in July 2019 and is located 3.5 miles east of Fairfield on Highway 34.
The other two, installed in May of this year, are located just west of Batavia, on each side of Highway 34. One of those has the prefix “Pro” in big letters followed by “Woman” “Child” and “Life.” The other one contains a picture of a baby next to a caption that reads “Adoption — I can live with it.” Both signs have a phone number, 641-683-3030, that goes to the Heartland Pregnancy Center of Ottumwa.
Jefferson County Right to Life member Karen Crossland said money for the signs was raised from donations to the organization, either directly or from donations for the homemade ice cream offered at the Fairfield Municipal Band concerts every summer in Central Park.
“We’ve been working for several years to raise the funds,” Crossland said. “Neebz Graphix of Bloomfield made the two signs west of Batavia, with the photo of the baby on the one sign provided with permission from a client of Lindsey Shipler’s Capturing Life Photography Studio of Batavia. The sign east of town was made by one of our members, Greg Heger.”
Crossland said the first signs the organization installed were along Highway 1, which went up in October 1999. Mark Shafer designed and painted them with help from his art students. The organization put up signs along Highway 1 South, which were vandalized and had to be replaced.
“We had a sign along the Pleasant Plain Road, but it was totally destroyed by vandals and has not been replaced,” Crossland said.
The two new signs west of Batavia replace signs that had been there for about 15 years.
Crossland said the purpose of Jefferson County Right to Life is to educate the public about the “wonders of human development.”
“We hope the signs might be the ‘sign’ someone is looking for as they are on the road, about to make a life or death decision,” Crossland said. “We have always tried to portray a positive message with our signs.”
Crossland said the organization thought the installations would be a good way to mark its 30th anniversary dedicated to what she called “promoting a culture of life.”
“We have been told two lives were saved when their mothers saw the signs north of town,” Crossland said.