Calgary to consider bylaw regarding graphic anti-abortion flyers

A proposed Calgary bylaw could change the way graphic anti-abortion flyers are distributed to homes. Bailey Nitti has more.

By Bailey Nitti

Calgary city council is preparing to debate a new bylaw that would change the way anti-abortion flyers with graphic images are delivered.

This bylaw would ensure any pamphlet with a graphic image is sealed in an envelope with a warning that it contains graphic images and it also must identify the sender and their address.

If requirements aren’t followed, the sender could face a $1,000 penalty.

“You cant force your images or your words onto people. People have a right to be able to walk away or avoid a message,” says Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada executive director Joyce Arthur.

Arthur adds that millions of flyers with graphic images of fetuses have been delivered to Canadian households over the years and she’s proud Calgary is taking a stance.

“They’re traumatizing!” she said. “People are seeing these images unexpected and it’s shocking, it’s an invasion of privacy, it’s traumatizing to families with young children who might see that or to anyone with pregnancy loss or those considering abortion.”

Ward 2 City Councillor Jennifer Wyness says the proposal is designed to balance freedom of expression and protection of private homes.

“It’s us collaborating as a community to find compromise to actually allow you your right to distribute information but to also protect communities and those who have trauma about the subject matter delivered to their door,” she explained.

Similar bylaws have been passed in other Canadian cities and Arthur says it’s a step in the right direction.

“This is a very solid bylaw and there’s no real reason to be against it,” she said. “There’s evidence to be in favor of it and the case from anti-abortion groups against the bylaw is very weak, and they can’t really support their case.

Calgary’s Community Development Committee voted unanimously in favour of the new rules and the amendments will go to city council this month for the final say.

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