Controversial West Kelowna anti-abortion billboard taken down
A controversial anti-abortion billboard that stood beside the highway in West Kelowna for more than a year has been taken down and replaced after a decision by an ad standards council.
The billboard read “Our right to life does not depend on location” and featured a picture of an adult holding a baby and of a pregnant woman’s belly.
Some complained about the sign, arguing the images were misleading.
“The billboard before indicated that a woman who was almost full-term could still just have the choice to terminate the pregnancy,” said Ruth Mellor, a member of the Kelowna and District Pro-Choice Action Society.
Ad Standards Canada agreed, writing that “it is extremely rare that abortions are, or may be, performed in Canada at this late stage of pregnancy; and certainly not on demand by the pregnant mother.”
The council also found the ad was demeaning to women “who may have to consider abortion, as a viable option, including women who need to consider such a procedure for medical reasons.”
However, the Kelowna Right to Life Society stands by its billboard.
“We don’t think it is misleading because, in fact, there is no law against abortion in Canada throughout all nine months of pregnancy so even a woman at that late stage of pregnancy can get an abortion in Canada if she can find a doctor to do it,” said Marlon Bartram, the organization’s executive director.
“We don’t believe it discriminates or put in a bad light any group of human beings.”
After being told to take down or amend their billboard, the Right to Life Society has put up a new sign, this one focusing on how men feel about abortions with the statement “Abortions hurt men too.”
“Men are negatively affected by abortion as well. We believe the message is fairly simple and straightforward and will withstand any sort of ad standards attack against the ad,” Bartram said.
The new billboard is expected to run for at least six months.
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