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Greater Victoria residents upset after graphic anti-abortion mail sent to homes

Saanich counsellor exploring options to take action against these pamphlets

Mark Brennae
July 24, 2023
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Greater Victoria residents upset after graphic anti-abortion mail sent to homes

Saanich counsellor exploring options to take action against these pamphlets

Mark Brennae
Jul 24, 2023
Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Greater Victoria residents upset after graphic anti-abortion mail sent to homes

Saanich counsellor exploring options to take action against these pamphlets

Mark Brennae
July 24, 2023
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Greater Victoria residents upset after graphic anti-abortion mail sent to homes

Residents of at least two area households were a little shocked with what they found recently in their mailboxes: graphic leaflets denouncing abortion as a human rights violation.

The leaflets, from The Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform [CCBR] contain photos purportedly of aborted fetuses, along with literature that says abortion “is a human rights violation. Help end the killing.” 

“It’s really vile,” said Jessica Duncan, who lives in Victoria. “That should not be allowed in anybody’s mailbox. It’s bad.”

Saanich Coun. Teale Phelps Bondaroff is aware of at least two people who were upset after being surprised to find the brochures in the mail.

“These leaflets are being delivered to people's mailboxes without their prior knowledge or consent and they contain incredibly graphic images that many people may find disturbing,” he said, adding the pamphlets were hand-delivered and contained no post markings.

On its website, the Alberta-based CCBR describes itself as “an educational human rights organization” that is dedicated to speaking out against abortion. 

The group is currently on a summer tour and just a few weeks ago, visited churches in Victoria and Langford.

A call to the pamphlet’s 289 Ont. area code telephone number revealed an outgoing message that said: “Politicians often use words like ‘choice’ or ‘right to choose’ when talking about abortion.

We are simply asking the question: What is being chosen in abortion?”

Residents in other BC communities have reported receiving similar leaflets over the last few years, including New Westminster, Burnaby, Surrey, Chilliwack, and Kelowna.

And Phelps Bondaroff said it has to stop. He’s in the midst of preparing a draft for Saanich Council to “explore options and points in the direction of other municipalities that have taken action on this issue.”

In an email to Capital Daily, Phelps Bondaroff said it's paramount to “balance the right of free expression and speech by those who wish to distribute information, with the right to privacy of residents who may not want to be exposed to graphic images through their mailboxes.”

What Bondaroff may ask his fellow councillors to consider is a bylaw similar to those in several other jurisdictions including London, Ont., which last spring adopted the Graphic Image Delivery By-law-PW-14.

“This bylaw allows the continued distribution of the graphic flyers, but requires that they be sealed inside opaque envelopes with information on the outside identifying the sender and a warning about the graphic contents,” he wrote to Capital Daily. 

“This measure balances the right to freedom of expression with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and privacy rights of residents.”

Duncan applauded Phelps Bondaroff for initiating a graphic image mail strategy for Saanich. 

“You can’t go around putting those graphic pictures in people’s mail,” she told Capital Daily.

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