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City council opposed to anti-abortion flyer photos; Unanimous vote to demand graphic images be covered in any mail handouts

Media Type: Print
Outlet: Calgary Herald
Author: Brodie Thomas
Published Date: November 4, 2022
Calgary city council is taking specific aim at anti-abortion flyers with a new bylaw that would ban the delivery of uncensored images of fetuses. The motion, brought forward by Ward 2 Coun. Jennifer Wyness, would require anti-abortion flyers that have images of a fetus to cover those images with adhesives or an envelope, and to include a viewer discretion warning. The steps would prevent people from inadvertently seeing an image of a fetus - something that has been described as traumatizing by those who have suffered miscarriages or gone through an abortion. Wyness said she's heard from many residents who have had their young children inadvertently find the flyers in their mailbox. "This traumatizes the children and many, many months go by of nightmares, and I've heard from many community members story after story about this," said Wyness. She said these images are too graphic for television, and they're too graphic to be posted on social media without a warning, so she wants the same for citizens' mailboxes. Mayor Jyoti Gondek described her own experience with encountering the flyers. "It is incredibly traumatizing," she said. "I've had this dropped into my mailbox after a miscarriage and that is not something I wish for other people." Gondek said she isn't worried that the bylaw is too targeted. She said the city has to start somewhere, and they are starting here. "If you want to make an argument, you can go ahead and make it. You can be pro-life all daylong, but we don't need to see your graphic images." Several councillors commended Wyness for attempting to address the problem, and for bearing the expected attack from critics. The motion was approved unanimously. Wyness's motion does not specify any fines or punishments for breaking the proposed bylaw but does leave the door open for the administration's suggestions. Administration has been directed to report back to council by the end of June 2023 with a proposed bylaw. brthomas@postmedia.comTwitter: @brodie_thomas
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