Hamilton to feds: make gruesome anti-abortion ads illegal

The city of Hamilton is asking the provincial and federal governments to step in and pass laws that would prevent images of aborted fetuses from landing on local doorsteps.

Group distributed 50,000 postcards to Hamilton Mountain homes in April targeting NDP MP

The city wants the province and federal government to make anti-abortion ads featuring pictures of aborted fetuses illegal. (Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform)

The city of Hamilton is asking the provincial and federal governments to step in and pass laws that would prevent images of aborted fetuses from landing on local doorsteps.

Council voted Wednesday to ask for legislation preventing advertising or communications from showing “gruesome and disturbing images.” The move comes after the pro-life group Canadian Centre for Bio-ethical Reform (CCBR) delivered postcards to Hamilton Mountain homes showing aborted fetuses.

The postcards horrified residents, and in one case, even made a boy physically ill, said Coun. Terry Whitehead of Ward 8.

“I was inundated with phone calls last night, including my own daughter, who received one,” he said.

“People are begging and pleading with council to do something.”

Council already passed a bylaw forbidding banners over local highways in response to the CCBR hanging banners depicting aborted fetuses over the Lincoln Alexander Parkway.

The city will also ask the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to endorse the position and help get the attention of upper levels of government.

Whitehead said protesting the “shock and awe” has nothing to do with taking a stance on abortion. Pro-life parents have complained too.

“This is not about taking a position.”

The CCBR distributed as many as 50,000 postcards to Hamilton Mountain homes in April that targeted NDP MP Chris Charlton.

The campaign protested Charlton’s opposing vote on Motion 312, which called for a committee to reevaluate Canada’s abortion laws.


A portion of Whitehead's motion:

That "city council respectfully request the Government of Canada through the Prime Minister and the Province of Ontario through the Premier to consider enacting legislation and/or regulations in all aspects of their particular jurisdictions dealing with advertising and communication such as broadcasting/telecommunications advertising or consumer protection advertising to prevent the use of graphic, gruesome and disturbing images of aborted fetuses in display materials, advertising posters, banners, and other mediums as part of any anti-abortion or pro-life campaign at least to the extent that such images are shielded from children and other vulnerable persons."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.