Pro-life bus ads in Nova Scotia and Ontario fuel national abortion debate
CANADA, January 15, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-life activists from Halifax, Nova Scotia and Guelph, Ontario are calling their pro-life bus ad campaigns a success after pro-abortion students launched online petitions against the ads that generated mainstream media attention.
“We were trying to spark a debate, and clearly it worked,” said Stephanie Potter of the Halifax pro-life group Signs4Life to LifeSiteNews.com.
Two weeks ago Signs4Life sponsored ads on 255 Metro Transit buses with an image of a newborn baby in her mother’s arms with the text, “Luc was born today, but his life began nine months ago”.
“Obviously the implication from that is that life begins from conception. And I guess they take umbrage from that because then the implication is that if you have an abortion, then it’s murder,” Potter said.
The ads outraged Hilary Murphy, a Saint Mary’s University student, who created a petition on Change.org addressed to Signs4Life and Halifax Mayor Mike Savage demanding that the ads be removed.
“Abortion is a human right in Canada,” she stated in the petition. “Women should not feel (sic) subject to shame and humiliation for having an abortion or for thinking about having an abortion.”
The petition has been signed by more than a thousand people across Canada. The controversy earned a spot on CTV last night.
Signs4Life responded to the petition on Change.org, first defending freedom of speech as the “corner stone of our democracy” before defending the content of the ads.
The ads “are inspired by our deep love and respect for women,” the group said. “They are our sisters, mothers, aunts, daughters, nieces and friends. We love them so much we feel compelled to speak out about the value of human life even though we know our opinion may be unpopular.”
“Our message is simple. Each life is completely unique and unrepeatable from conception. Everything from the gender, to the eye colour, to the shape of a child's nose is decided in that incredible moment when life begins. The question then is, when do we begin to value life?”
Signs4Life stated in the response that it would not be removing its ads from the buses.
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Guelph mayor defends pro-life ads on buses
Pro-life ads placed on four Guelph Transit buses by Guelph & Area Right to Life also generated media attention when Mayor Karen Farbridge responded yesterday to a different student-led petition on Change.org that the ads would not be removed.
"I appreciate that the Guelph & Area Right to Life advertisement may be seen as controversial, but refusing to post it could be seen as limiting freedom of expression under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms," she wrote to petition signers.
"The ad does not contravene the advertising policy and there is no record that it is in violation of the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards."
The petition, created by Heather Millman — a PhD candidate at the University of Western Ontario — had asked the mayor to remove from the buses the ads which Millman called “biased and offensive”.
“In Canada women have the legal right to choose whether or not to abort a pregnancy. Women who exercise their right to choose should not be shamed by public bus ads promoting a subjective moral opposition to this right,” stated Millman in the petition.
The ads depict a 16 week unborn child with the words "This is a child, not a choice: Why abortion when there are alternatives?”
Jakki Jeffs, president of Guelph & Area Right to Life, told LifeSiteNews.com that the university students are trying to strip law-abiding citizens of their “constitutional, charter, and democratic rights” of freedom of expression by demanding that the ads be taken down.
“They don’t understand the courtesies that are actually inherent when you live in a society as free as ours,” she said.
Jeffs said that the students need to understand that abortion is killing another person.
“Once the woman is pregnant, she is carrying another human being. The students want to deny it, but the truth is the truth.”
“Abortion kills the child.”
Jeffs said that abortion “doesn’t help women” but often results in the post-abortive woman suffering “physically emotionally, and mentally”.
“Our work is to try to find an alternative for her,” she said.
Millman has vowed to take her fight to Advertising Standards Canada.
“The statement ‘This is a child, not a choice’ is misleading and deceptive, as it implies that abortion is not a viable option for women, scewing (sic) the reality that it is in fact a legal choice in Canada,” she wrote in a response to Mayor Farbridge on Change.org.
Guelph & Area Right to Life has launched its own petition to garner support for its ad campaign that will be sent to the mayor, the city council, and the transit service.
Sign petition here. Petition will be available for signing after 9 pm (EST).