A Calgary city councillor is tabling a motion that would ask for graphic images to be concealed in an envelope when being used in door-to-door anti-abortion pamphlets.
Ward 2 councillor Jennifer Wyness is bringing the motion forward during the city’s executive committee meeting this week.
The motion calls on the city to create a bylaw requiring mailed flyers from anti-abortion groups that include graphic images — showing or claiming to show a fetus, or any part of a fetus — to be concealed in an envelope. It also calls for the pamphlets to include a viewer discretion warning.
“All we are asking is if you choose to use that image, that you put it in an envelope,” Wyness said. “I’m not stopping you from sharing your beliefs or from putting your message out.
“All we’re saying is, based on societal standards, the image you are choosing to use is not acceptable.”
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Wyness said the idea came about after hearing from constituents and neighbours impacted by such images.
“Since I’ve been running in politics, I’ve had many conversations with my neighbours on them having this on their doorstep, and they told me stories about how it traumatized them,” she said.
“Right now, this could show up on your doorstep, and it doesn’t have that space for the reader to consent to see that image or to be forewarned for it.”
Wyness noted that she hopes people will take the motion for what it is and not as a bid to silence any view or belief.
“Most people are seeing this as a balanced, respectful motion. I’m just bringing the imaging into alignment with other standards,” she said.
“I think the challenges we face are the people thinking this is about pro-choice or anti-abortion, and it’s not. It’s about the image.”
Calgary is not the only municipality looking at this type of bylaw. The City of London recently implemented a similar rule and Toronto is considering a similar bylaw.
The motion will be tabled before the committee on Thursday.