A Monday-morning car crash on the Linc happened directly under one of the graphic anti-abortion banners that have been predominantly displayed in the city for weeks.
A collision was reported to police just before 8 a.m. under the Mohawk overpass on the Linc in the westbound lanes, police spokesperson Debbie McGreal-Dinning told CBC Hamilton.
“One caller reported seeing a banner in the area,” she said. “The investigation is ongoing in regards to the collision.”
Hamilton Reddit user Bedouin85 caught a quick glimpse of the accident while driving, and says it looked like an elderly man had run into something.
“I think it might have been the wall of the bridge because I did not see any other car there,” Bedouin85 said. “The front end of his car was pretty damaged though. The bumper was hanging off and it seemed to have crushed his hood in a bit.”
“I cannot say for sure that [the banner] caused the accident, but I think it is a pretty safe assumption that it did. Either that, or it was just a major coincidence.”
Using a loophole
Protesters from the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform have been demonstrating in Hamilton for over a month. Some of those protests involve hanging a banner over the Linc with the slogan “abortion kills children” and a bloody photo of a fetus.
The group isn’t attaching the banner to any city property — instead, protesters are tying the banner to their bodies and standing next to the edge of the overpass. That technicality ties the city’s hands, Ward 7 Coun. Scott Duvall says.
“We were hoping to get them on the sign by-law, but they are not hanging these signs on public property, they are attaching the signs to their bodies,” Duvall told CBC Hamilton in a previous interview.
“I have received many phone calls and emails on this. I have contacted our bylaw staff and they have stated to me there is nothing they can do.”
McGreal-Dinning says the protesters have been in contact with police, and have been “following all of the rules to a T.”
“It is the responsibility of all motorists to pay attention to the road as there are many potential distractions while driving,” McGreal-Dinning said.
“The individuals who are demonstrating within the City of Hamilton are not breaking any federal or provincial laws nor are they in violation of any municipal by-laws.”
“They are exercising their right to freedom of speech which is set out in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms for all Canadians.
'Graphic and disturbing'
The Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform is an “educational pro-life organization,” says Stephanie Gray, they group’s co-founder and executive director.
She says the group is two years into an 18-year campaign to "convey the true horror" of abortion when "words are insufficient."
Gray says the images — which she describes as “graphic and disturbing” — are aimed to outrage people.
“We have found pictures to be effective in changing minds and saving lives, we know of women who have cancelled abortions based on our pictures,” she told CBC Hamilton.
“This isn’t ending any time soon,” she said. “Our philosophy is as long as children are being killed, the evidence will be brought to people's attention.”