A Canadian pro-life group is defending its continued practice of distributing anti-abortion flyers after community members in Toronto’s east end are speaking out against the pamphlets.
Pascale Thibodeau, a mother of two young children, is one of many residents who received a flyer from the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform showing images of fetuses in utero and what the group claims are images post-abortion. Some parents have expressed concerns about children seeing the graphic pictures.
“I find it a bit crazy that they would do that, and who would finance that as well?” Thibodeau said, calling the flyers “unwelcome.”
“Everyone is allowed to their opinion, but it’s how they deliver the opinion sometimes that’s not appropriate. And I think this is not necessarily appropriate.”
The delivery of flyers prompted several comments on an east-end Facebook group.
Toronto councillor Paula Fletcher said her office has received many calls from residents complaining about the “most graphic, very disturbing images” in the flyers and condemned the printed materials.
“Abortion is a legal operation in our country and it is an affront to women and to everyone that have worked so hard to have choice in Canada,” Fletcher said.
“This is a very pro-choice community and this is why people are so upset. They’re really not welcome in this community.”
The Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform made headlines in the past after receiving criticism for distributing graphic literature in the GTA and other parts of the country.
Devorah Gilman, a spokesperson for the privately-funded organization, defended the flyers in an interview with Global News Tuesday and said the campaign is about human rights.
“If we want to stand up for justice for every member of the human family … the most effective way to do so is by providing people the photographic evidence of what abortion truly is,” she said.
“If we’re asking if is it inappropriate for children to see these images, I think we also need to ask, ‘Is it inappropriate for children to be these images?’”
Gilman said the flyers have been distributed in different parts of Toronto and the organization will continue its advocacy.
Meanwhile, Beaches-East York MPP Arthur Potts said for those concerned about the delivery of pamphlets, it’s difficult to crack down.
“We try to control hate speech and I’m not seeing hate here. I’m seeing disgusting speech and I’m not sure we have the mechanisms in place,” Potts said, adding officials can’t enforce requests not to receive flyers.