Graphic anti-abortion images will now have to be covered up in Burlington


Published March 21, 2024 at 10:30 pm

mailbox letters graphic abortion bylaw

Burlington is cracking down on the way graphic material is distributed across the city.

A new bylaw will require those distributing the graphic or disturbing material to enclose the images in an envelope or other covering.

The move comes in response to regular public complaints about flyers and newsletters turning up in mailboxes from anti-abortion groups that show images of aborted fetuses.

Offenders could face fines but Burlington hopes that Provincial legislation that has long been in the works will set the standard on penalties.

“Bylaws such as this are becoming common as the practice of distributing graphic flyers has increased,” a report prepared by the City states. “Similar bylaws have passed in Ontario. The cities of London and St. Catharines have implemented bylaws while Hamilton, Toronto and Oakville have received direction from their Councils to explore similar legislation.”

The battle over the graphic material has been ongoing but came to a head last fall when they began to show up more frequently in local mailboxes that led City Hall to act.

Back then residents who contacted said those behind the flyers had gone too far with the images becoming bloodier and more disturbing.

“I understand these groups want to get their message out, but this is going too far,” said Laura Lynd, who lives in the Aldershot area. “It’s disturbing to me, so it must be upsetting to little kids who are exposed to it.”

Lynd said that the flyers were showing up every couple of weeks

For the most part, the unsolicited mailers are from pro-life groups calling themselves “Rights for Children” or “Canadians Against Abortion,” although they don’t specifically have an official presence online or elsewhere.

These groups say their flyers are intended to “shock” people and are meant to defend the rights of the unborn.

People have also complained about the images being displayed during demonstrations but the new bylaw cannot be imposed on those protesting on public property because they are protected under federal freedom of expression rights.




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