Toronto politicians push for ban on graphic anti-abortion signs
Placards shouldn't be 'thrust' onto people walking down city streets, councillor says
Graphic images depicting bloodied and dismembered fetuses have been appearing on giant placards all over downtown Toronto and on flyers in people's mailboxes, and now some politicians are taking a stand against them.
Sarah Doucette, a city councillor in the city's west end, has received hundreds of complaints from upset residents. She calls the images "disturbing" and says she plans to propose a bylaw to ban the gruesome anti-abortion signs.
"These are big blown up images. There's blood, there's gore, there's a lot of things there which should not be in people's faces on their local street," said Doucette.
The Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR) is the Calgary-based organization behind the protests and flyers.
This summer its members have been seen on major intersections like Yonge and College streets, standing on all four corners with placards. The group also hands out pamphlets on the street.
'I wouldn't want my grandchildren seeing this.
"It's gross but I understand what they're doing, they're doing it for the shock value," said Teresa Furnari, after seeing the image of a dead fetus. "But I wouldn't want my grandchildren seeing this."
The group's flyers are also ending up in mailboxes across the city, something NDP MPP Peter Tabuns wants to stop.
He, along with two Toronto city councillors, Paula Fletcher and Mary Fragedakis, and Toronto District School Board trustee Jennifer Story, is asking Ontario's attorney general to seek an injunction against the mailbox flyers, as well as the signs the group displays.
"People have a right to protest," said Tabuns. "But it's a different thing to thrust these images onto people who could be traumatized by them."
Complaints in other cities
Doucette says residents have complained to police but were told that what the group is doing is not illegal.
"We're not saying that these [protesters] cannot be on our street handing out flyers, we're not saying that," said Doucette. "But there's a difference when you hand someone a flyer, because then they have a choice whether to take it or not."
CBC Toronto reached out to the CCBR but did not receive a reply.
Doucette wants to present a proposal to city council in October. Meanwhile, Tabuns said he hopes the attorney general will put a stop to the images immediately.