Graphic anti-abortion flyers in Calgary could get cover, warning and return address
Councillor argues vivid images of fetuses should be treated like pornography
If a proposed Calgary bylaw is passed, anti-abortion flyers featuring graphic images would have to be in a sealed envelope that you can't see through, contain a graphic warning and have a return address of the organization that sent it.
Fines of up to $1,000 are being considered.
The community development committee voted unanimously to send the proposed bylaw to city council next month.
The councillor for Ward 11 says such a bylaw makes sense.
"This isn't about abortion," Coun. Kourtney Penner said Thursday.
"This is about shock value. The images that are being distributed have nothing to do with talking about the medical procedure of abortion and when or why it might happen."
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The committee invited public input. Five women spoke in favour of the bylaw, each with personal stories about their relationship with abortion. One man with an anti-abortion group spoke against it.
"This morning gave a lot of us pause," Penner said.
"I think we have a record number of mothers who sit around the council table. We heard from some very impacted women, and I think what we heard is that protection from images is really vital in helping people stay emotionally intact and helping people feel safe."
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Ward 2 Coun. Jennifer Wyness said that for her the precedent had already been established.
"When we used to go to convenience stores, porn mags were blurred and behind [the counter]. Yes, they were in a public space. But we still as a society determined that that nudity needed to have a warning, be out of the reach of children, and the person selling the magazine almost had to check ID," Wyness said.
"You wouldn't let a 10-year-old buy a porn mag, so why would you let this happen?"
Similar bylaws have been passed in London, Ont., and are being considered in other municipalities in the province.
With files from Scott Dippel