London, Ont. New Democrats hope to stop distribution of graphic anti-abortion media
LONDON, ONT. -- London’s provincial contingent of New Democrat MPPs is attempting to stop graphic images of aborted fetuses from arriving in your mailbox or being delivered to your door.
Terence Kernaghan, Peggy Sattler and Teresa Armstrong introduced a Private Member's Bill Monday to restrict such controversial materials from being distributed by opponents of abortion.
They were joined in a virtual news conference by supporters, including London parent Sarah Grossi.
“My son and I were driving through the Commissioners and Wharncliffe Road intersection and were visually assaulted by what I can only describe as a very grotesque and violent image.”
Grossi recalled the day she and her son came upon a billboard with a graphic image of a bloody fetus.
“He said that he was having nightmares. And he had been having nightmares since he saw the sign. And to this day, he’s still having nightmares at one, two, three in the morning, crying.”
The bill is called the Viewer Discretion Act. It would ban the distribution of graphic images of fetuses to homes without the use of an envelope indicating the content and sender.
“We don’t believe you should be forced to see these images while simply driving to work or coming home from school,” said Kernaghan. “We’ve really seen Londoners engage on this issue because of how intrusive and graphic these images are.”
Last year public outcry ensued when controversial flyers with images of aborted fetuses began landing in mailboxes and were hand-delivered to London households.
Those supporting the bill say work is also being done to restrict controversial images in posters and billboards.
On the other side of the debate, the group distributing the controversial media says it has a right to freedom of expression.
“I think that it’s really unfortunate that in a democratic society, where people should be able to advocate for different causes, that there are actually groups trying to silence messages that they disagree with,” said Maria McCann of London Against Abortion. “Specifically the pro-life message that human rights are for all human beings.”
McCann said her group will mobilize supporters in a bid to stop the legislation from moving forward.
The City of London has also started taking steps towards placing restrictions on graphic flyers on any topic being distributed door-to-door.