A pro-life billboard was recently defaced on the Belfry Highway. This photo was modified.

Sheila Leach has an unexpected plan for the graffiti paint scribbled across Park County Right To Life’s billboard on the Belfry Highway.

“My thought is to leave it for awhile,” the chapter vice president said. “I want people to see what the message is. See what has been done to it. Hopefully it will make people angry.

“I just want people to see it.”

The anti-abortion billboard shows a smiling baby with a “Save the Babies” headline running across the top. Across the baby’s face and a ProLife Across America logo, “F..k the babies,” was written in lime green spray paint, along with a couple of smiley faces drawn on – one with devil horns.

“It’s very vulgar,” said Leach.

She saw the act as another example of the divisive nature of our current culture.

“This country is becoming more and more polarized,” she said. “We each should be able to express our different opinions. That’s what cancel culture is all a part of. Some people’s free speech gets more airing than other free speech.”

During the election cycle last fall, local supporters from both sides of the political aisle reported having their candidates’ lawn signs defaced and/or stolen.

Leach and Carol Armstrong, another Right to Life member, said they would have much preferred, and taken more seriously, an oppositional pro-choice billboard, rather than have their own property being defaced.

“If you don’t like the message, do your own billboard,” Armstrong said.

The vinyl that was vandalized had been up for about two years, Armstrong said. Right to Life has been using the billboard for about 12-15 years and Paul Lanchbury, whose property the billboard sits on, said the billboard has been there for his entire 59 year life.

Neither Leach nor Lanchbury said they have ever seen vandalism take place there before.

Right to Life gets to use the billboard for free. On the north facing side of the board is a paid advertisement for a local quilt shop.

“I’m pro-life, from conception to natural death,” Lanchbury said of billboard message. “It’s for a good cause.”

Right to Life’s only expense on the billboard comes from buying the vinyl, which Leach said runs at least around $350.

“Still, that’s a lot for a small, nonprofit organization,” Leach said.

The billboard vandalism was first reported to the Park County Sheriff’s Office on the evening of July 22. Lanchbury said a deputy came out and took photos of the graffiti, but he hasn’t heard anything directly from law enforcement.

Armstrong said unless the culprits came armed with flashlights, the crime would have had occurred in the early evening or morning.

It is unknown who is responsible for the act and how exactly they did it. Although the vandalism appears sloppy and rushed, a certain amount of work and planning had to have gone into the effort. A barbed wire fence separates the base of the roughly 15-foot-high billboard from the highway shoulder. To reach the upper reaches of the billboard, the culprits would have had to have brought a ladder and/or possibly a truck to do the job, and would have had to trespass on to Lanchbury’s private property to reach the west side of the sign.

“They had to have planned that,” Lanchbury said, adding he suspects it was someone who lives in town that drives past the billboard often.

At the crime scene, recent tire tracks can be seen leading towards the highway side of the billboard and away. An empty soda can sat nearby on the ground and a pole alerting to underground wiring appears to have been run over.

“That’s terrible what they wrote up there,” Lanchbury said.

(6) comments

Schelly Jordan

I find it interesting that people who demonize pro-life folks or the movement are often the same progressive people that abhor the perceived wholesale murder of African American men at the hands of police (i.e. BLM). They also support the murder of innocent unborn babies who might very well live if their lives were not "terminated" late in the last trimester so as not to inconvenience their mother with the responsibility of pregnancy. Should have thought of that 8 months ago. The hypocrisy of the Left is boundless. I suspect those fine folks, that sneak in and trespassed onto private land to vandalize an item protected by the 1st Amendment, are not only afraid to debate the issue in a public forum but are seriously deficient in their ability to communicate as evidenced by the language of their graffiti, As I have said before, my German Oma said to me " name calling is the last refuge of the unimaginative". Pretty much describes the the 2-dementional, shallow reasoning I encounter when attempting to "discuss" the issues with folks who can support the murder of police officers as well as a baby in utero. As Mr. Conger stated. "pure evil".

Robert Alber

This can be expected with the huge influx of new residents from all parts and the flow of tourists.

Justin Smith

Pro Life groups are the most hypocritical on the planet, by a large margin.

Scott Conger

Justin, you may just be right. I know that probably the group that can be relied upon to maintain their core beliefs and cause, and not deviate in any way are the ones who promote the death of babies. It is an unwavering calling to them and their righteousness and purity is displayed in the graffiti that they left. The only hypocritical thing they can be accused of is to call it "health care", when in pretty much every instance, a human being dies. Sort of like burning a city down, destroying innocent people's businesses and killing police and civilians in the name of "peace and social justice". Did I just call out a more hypocritical group? Shame on me. Like I said, when death is glorified and the attempt to preserve life is vilified, it is Good vs. Evil.

Vincent Vanata

Hypocritical? How so?

Prolife organizations advocate for the protection of life. What more of a noble cause can anyone or group have? In the case of this article, a message paid for by a right to life group, was defaced by an individual(s) who trespassed upon private property and destroyed private property. The message of the defacer was one of casting aside the lives of innocent babies by stating, ”F__K the babies”. His/her words, not mine.

Who has the higher standard or more noble belief in this case? Asinine comments, such as calling prolife groups “hypocritical” are emblematic of individuals who would rather destroy another’s property in response to a topic they disagree with rather than taking the time and money to display their own message. However, that would require a certain degree of personal exposure and deny themselves the anonymity gained through this type of crime.

More so, where is the outcry of such an act. I remember a while back the uproar about a sign someone paid for and posted on the Greybull highway stating, “Don’t California our Cody”. Really? That garnered 46 comments! This article is up to four comments now.

In this case, who is the hypocrite?

Scott Conger

If this is about a polarized society, then it's an easy choice which "side" I want to be on. The sad fact is, this isn't about being polarized; Call it what it is... this is a simple case of Good vs. Evil.

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