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Londoners rally outside city hall against graphic anti-abortion images, flyers

The newly formed Viewer Discretion Legislation Coalition (VDLC) gathered at a rally outside City Hall Wednesday morning to call in on local politicians to help stop the spread of the disturbing imagines. Oct 28, 2020. Sawyer Bogdan / Global News

A group of concerned Londoners say enough is enough when it comes to graphic anti-abortion imagery being displayed and distributed across the city.

The newly-formed Viewer Discretion Legislation Coalition (VDLC) gathered at a rally outside City Hall Wednesday morning to call on local politicians to help stop the spread of the disturbing images.

Read more: London, Ont., group fed up with graphic pamphlets to launch campaign against Alberta’s CCBR

The rally was organized to protest an Alberta-based anti-abortion organization, the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR), which has been littering London with flyers, posters, and billboards featuring disturbing images of dead fetuses.

Mom of two Samantha Barron spoke at the Viewer Discretion Legislation Coalition rally about how triggering the images were after her recent miscarriage. Sawyer Bogdan / Global News

Samantha Barron, a mother of two, spoke at the rally about how triggering the images were after her recent miscarriage.

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“During COVID with having to stay home, I was really depressed, and then all of a sudden I get this flyer in the mail, and then I am right back to the bottom.”

She miscarried her daughter Abby at just under seven months back in March and said she ‘couldn’t handle’ seeing those images.

“You don’t realize what’s inside those flyers until you open it and then driving down the street seeing these big posters that could almost be identical to what you lost,” she said.

Barron said that seeing the images while driving down the street caused her to have an anxiety attack.

At the time the flyer was put in her mailbox, Barron said she had Infant Loss Awareness Month signs up all over her lawn and does not understand why after seeing that someone still felt the need to leave a flyer.

“I don’t feel like it’s necessary to be delivering these flyers to make your opinion about abortion know; it’s just wrong.”

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Speaking to Global News at the rally, coalition co-founder Katie Dean said the issue is not about pro-life versus pro-choice.

“MADD Canada would never put a dead body on their advertisements for drunk driving,” Dean said.

“We need to have some respect for each other, for the deceased, for trigger warnings because these images are triggering women.”

Read more: Old East Village residents furious as London City Hall struggles to address anti-abortion flyers

London mother Krista Mcintyre spoke at the rally about her concern for her nine-year-old daughter seeing the pamphlet after it was left in her mailbox last week.

“My daughter would have been able to read all of the information on that pamphlet, which is not exactly a topic for a nine-year-old who does not know where babies come from,” she said.

“My biggest concerns were those horrific images on these flyers that I know would have been burned into her memory, because I know they are burned into mine.”

The VDLC, formed Oct. 6 by Katie Dean and Mark Konrad, has already attracted over 500 followers on Facebook.

Konrad said people can contact the group when they receive the flyers in their mailbox, and the group will use that information to track where the anti-abortionists have been to collect evidence.

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The group is asking Londoners to contact their city councillor to demand changes to city bylaws.

There is also an online petition started by NDP MPP Terence Kernaghan to call on the Legislative Assembly of Ontario (LAO) “to support calls for an injunction based on the need to prevent a public nuisance,” or if that’s not possible, to “develop and bring forward legislation to prohibit the use of such graphic imagery.”

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