'I'm emotionally harmed': Anti-abortion ads on Lethbridge buses traumatic for some residents
City directs complaints about content to Advertising Standards Canada
Anti-abortion ads appearing on Lethbridge city buses and bus stop benches have some residents upset.
They want city council to take responsibility for advertising allowed on city property.
Kallie Desruisseaux said she saw the ads while driving her son to daycare on Tuesday.
"The whole way I followed one of the buses with the advertisements, and the ad said, 'say no to abortion, pre-born babies feel pain,'" she recalled. "And that really upset me."
Desruisseaux said she's previously had two miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy, forcing her to have a medical abortion — without which she would have died.
"People will use the word offence. People get offended, but I'm not offended. I'm emotionally harmed, this brings up trauma in my past," she said.
'Set appropriate standards'
In a written response to CBC News, the city said advertising on all Lethbridge Transit property is handled by a third-party contractor.
It says concerns can be emailed to city transit, but issues with content should be taken up with Advertising Standards Canada.
We wanted to follow up to let you know we’ve read and captured each one of your concerns from your tweets this morning and shared them with the appropriate people internally. We will review and respond by next week.—@LethbridgeCity
"The City of Lethbridge recognizes that there is a range of values and views in the community about pro- life messaging," reads the statement. "If members of our community feel that the current ads don't meet advertising standards, we encourage them to contact Advertising Standards Canada."
Desruisseaux said she feels the the city is shirking responsibility.
"I'd just really like council to take responsibility for their own property, and what I'd really like council to do is to set appropriate standards for what they're willing to provide a platform for in this community," she said.
'Open dialogue is always really important'
Duane Konynenbelt, president of Lethbridge & District Pro-Life, said the ads are part of an ongoing open debate about abortions.
"Open dialogue is always really important in this, and that's why we've advertised not just for the last eight weeks but for the last 15 years. And again, we've always done this with love and compassion," he said. "We can't have these open and honest discussions without that being in the public sector."
Konynenbelt said the group's mission is to proclaim the value of human life from conception to natural death. He said they've always advertised and reflected that message in a positive way, protected under Canada's charter.
Desruisseaux said that for her, this isn't about what you believe when it comes to anti-abortion or pro-choice issues.
"It's not about pro or against the topic itself. It's about causing harm to people and bringing up this trauma," she said.
- MORE ALBERTA NEWS | Budget cuts are hard pill to swallow, say Alberta pharmacists
- MORE ALBERTA NEWS | Taking Trans Mountain fight to Supreme Court a 'showpiece,' says Notley