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Anti-abortion bus ad ruling commended by rights group

An abortion rights group is applauding a court ruling allowing the City of Grande Prairie to reject anti-abortion ads on its public transit buses.

The Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform sued the city in June after it refused to run an ad that showed fetuses at seven and 16 weeks gestation. The third panel is a red circle, all captioned, “Growing, growing, gone. Abortion kills children. End the killing.”

The city argued it was inappropriate, but the CCBR felt the decision violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Court of Queen’s Bench ruled in favour of the Swan City late last month, arguing it would likely cause psychological harm to people who have had an abortion or are considering one.

“Expression of this kind may lead to emotional responses from the various people who use public transit and other users of the road, creating a hostile and uncomfortable environment,” writes Justice C.S. Anderson in her decision.

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Executive Director for the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada Joyce Arthur hopes the decision will lead other cities to refuse the ad. The City of Peterborough, Ontario initially did so, but changed its mind after the threat of a lawsuit.

“The Grande Prairie ruling is significant,” says Arthur. “It means that if the City of Peterborough proceeds with putting these offensive ads on buses, it would jeopardize the safe and welcoming environment for transit users, and possibly cause harm to vulnerable people.”

The ad in question is below. It may be offensive to some readers and discretion is advised.


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