Calgary city council has approved a bylaw amendment to fine those handing out pro-life material $1,000 — unless they hide images of aborted babies inside an envelope. 

In a bylaw amendment passed last month, city council ruled that images depicting abortion victims must be hidden inside an opaque envelope with a warning about its contents. The envelope must also show the name and address of the sender. 

Richard Dur, executive director of the political party Prolife Alberta, says the bylaw indicates that abortion itself should be outlawed. 

“​​If the images are ‘too graphic’ for public consumption then perhaps the act of abortion, which brings about these horrific images in the first place, ought itself to be further regulated/outlawed,” Dur told True North. 

Prolife Alberta uses its status as a political party to draw attention to pro-life policies. While the entity does not distribute abortion victim photography, Dur said the fliers make the reality of abortion undeniably clear.

“Abortions in Alberta, like the rest of Canada, are publicly paid for,” he said. “People should know where their money is going.”

Canada is the only democracy in the world which provides no legal protection for pre-born humans. In March, the Canadian Institute for Health Information revealed that there were 87,485 induced abortions in 2021.

The city says reported incidents will be investigated and enforced based on “education, voluntary compliance and officer discretion.”

Calgary Coun. Jennifer Wyness said images of aborted babies can be “deeply traumatizing and harmful” for some people.

“While we want to uphold the freedom of advocacy groups to express their opinions, we need to also balance our responsibility to protect communities. As a society, we accept that not all content is appropriate for everyone, which is why we have R-ratings for disturbing or mature films, for example,” she said.

“These pamphlets fall under that same category and it’s reasonable to ask that they come with a content warning.”

Dur said council is intent on protecting — even promoting — graphic expression through drag queen story hours at public libraries, but restricts it and prohibits free speech to those decrying the horror of abortion.

Author

  • Rachel Parker

    Rachel is a seasoned political reporter who’s covered government institutions from a variety of levels. A Carleton University journalism graduate, she was a multimedia reporter for three local Niagara newspapers. Her work has been published in the Toronto Star. Rachel was the inaugural recipient of the Political Matters internship, placing her at The Globe and Mail’s parliamentary bureau. She spent three years covering the federal government for iPolitics. Rachel is the Alberta correspondent for True North based in Edmonton.