You may recall that Calgary city council, under the direction of wildly unpopular progressive Mayor Jytoti Gondek, recently passed a bylaw severely limiting the distribution of pro-life literature in the city, particularly literature featuring graphic abortion victim photography. Not wanting to be outdone, the town of Strathmore followed suit, but their restrictions are even more limiting, puzzling, and, when taken at face value, even somewhat comedic.
The bylaw instituted by Strathmore not only bans graphic abortion imagery, but also any image of a fetus, defining even an ultrasound image of a healthy developing fetus as graphic. It then goes on expand the definition of fetus to include all developing unborn mammals.
So, per the letter of the law, if you drop off an ultrasound of your new baby or distribute advertisement for a veterinary clinic that features kitten ultrasounds, you could technically be breaking the town’s bylaw.
I was joined by Stephanie Fennelly, executive director of The Wilberforce Project, a political pro-life organization in Alberta, to discuss the new bylaw. I asked about the event that led up to the new rules being implemented, and the purported intentions behind them. We also explored whether this was a case of monkey see monkey do, with Strathmore simply following in Calgary’s footsteps.
We also dissected the bylaw, including the bizarre ‘mammalian’ definitions, and talked about how the confounding language may extend from an unwillingness to define the fetus as a ‘human fetus’, and further to the same point how scientifically precise language goes a long way to defeating pro-abortion rhetoric.
Plus, Stephanie laid out some of the terms and conditions of the bylaw while discussing how it will undoubtedly impact her organization's work.
We discussed the apparent increased efforts to stifle pro-life activism, and noted how when even a small conservative town in Alberta is engaging in censorship on the issue, folks should be concerned. Politicians may be censoring baby ultrasounds now, but as Stephanie pointed out, once the precedent it set who knows what they may decide to ban next?
Rebel News reached out to the Town of Strathmore, who provided the following response:
The Town of Strathmore Council has approved the Community Standards Amending Bylaw No. 23-27, regulating the unsolicited distribution of graphic images.
On July 19th, Council received a presentation from a resident who expressed concerns over the graphic imagery contained in anti-abortion flyers distributed door to door.
“This is an emotional subject for many. When you go door-to-door, you don’t know if the homeowner has experienced a loss, or if those materials could end up in the hands of a child. Requiring these types of pamphlets to be enclosed in opaque envelopes adds a layer of protection while still upholding the importance of allowing people the freedom to express their opinions,” Mayor Pat Fule said.
The decision to move forward with an amending bylaw aligns with Council’s Strategic Plan for Community Wellness and Intentional Community Development.
The Community Standards Amending Bylaw No. 23-27 received all three readings on July 26, 2023. Under the bylaw, any materials that contain the image of a fetus must be enclosed in a non-transparent envelope with a warning label and the return address of the sender.
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