Graphic pictures left on doorsteps anger parents
Okotoks: Abortion materials too graphic, say residents who received them
By: Darlene Casten
| Posted: Wednesday, Mar 20, 2013 12:18 pm
Parents in an Okotoks subdivision were shocked to find pamphlets with the picture of a dead baby on their doorstep last week.
A group called Canadian Centre for Bio-ethical Reform (CCBR) distributed pamphlets in the Drake Landing area last week and the brochures had a picture of a dead fetus and contained messages against gender-specific abortion.
Many parents who received the pamphlet took to social media to express outrage over the pictures and the content being delivered to their door. Hundreds of comments about the pamphlets had been left on an Okotoks mom circle Facebook page.
Shelly Smith found one of the pamphlets stuck in her door jam March 11. She said she was alerted to the fact they were being distributed in her area from the Facebook group and checked her door, where she found the pamphlet stuck in the door jam.
“I thought it was a little too graphic to be stuck in the front door,” she said.
The photos would have been disturbing to her children, Smith added.
“My youngest would have been horrified,” she said, adding she is thankful he didn’t find it before she did. “He is a sensitive soul. There would have been a lot of tears.”
Smith said some parents weren’t opposed to using the pamphlet to teach their children about the issue, but she ripped hers up and threw it in the garbage.
“One person showed it to her daughter who is eight and she is having a discussion with her about it because she is anti-abortion,” Smith said.
Smith said she has explained the issue of abortion to her children, but thinks the pamphlet would be too disturbing for them.
“I wouldn’t want that (pamphlet) to be the segway to the discussion,” she said.
Drake Landing resident Chantelle Story confronted a woman who was distributing the pamphlets with her children last week.
Story said she had also heard about the pamphlets on the Facebook moms group and when she saw a young girl carrying the pamphlets to her door she asked her to get off her property. She then located a woman who, Story said, had four other children with her handing out the anti-abortion materials.
“She asked me if I had any questions and I told her ‘no’,” Story said, adding the woman told her people need to be educated.
“I told her my five-year-old doesn’t need to know about it,” Story said.
She said this woman could force parents to have a discussion they don’t want to have with their children if they found the pamphlets.
“My free choice is being taken away,” Story said. “I should have the right to raise my child in my own way.”
Story said she believes the message in the pamphlet isn’t relevant to this area.
“That is more of a multi-cultural problem,” she said.
Places like Vancouver have seen the issue arise, she explained, and have made changes such as not allowing parents to find out the gender of their baby, which is not the case in Alberta, she pointed out.
Story said this isn’t the first time anti-abortion material has been distributed in the town as the pamphlets were left on vehicles in Crystal Shores a few months ago.
Messages have been left on the CCBR Facebook page voicing opposition to the delivery of the pamphlets, but those messages are being removed, Story said.
Municipal enforcement team leader Tim Stobbs said his department received a call about the pamphlets.
“They had a question if they can do this, and of course they can,” Stobbs said. “It’s a constitutional issue. It’s freedom of expression, freedom of speech.”
He said the same group drove a truck through town in 2010,which drew the ire of some residents, but again municipal enforcement and RCMP have no jurisdiction to stop them, he said.
Maaike Rosendal speaks for CCBR and said they have volunteers in Okotoks who distribute their materials in the community, including this pamphlet about gender selective abortion.
“These are local pro-lifers who care about their born neighbours as well as their pre-born neighbours,” Rosendal said.
The woman who was approached by Story coordinates the local volunteers, Rosendal said, and has her children deliver CCBR materials as well.
“There are some children who have chosen to express this injustice to others,” Rosendal explained.
She said she has read the posts on the Okotoks mom’s group Facebook page and they are not trying to reach children with their material, but if a child does see the pictures or reads their anti-abortion message they are okay with that.
“The CCBR doesn’t target children because they aren’t the ones aborting children,” she said. “I understand the concern of parents, but the injuries of pre-born children trumps the feelings of born children.”
Graphic pictures are necessary to drive home the point, Rosendal added.
“We know from studying history that an injustice that is invisible becomes tolerable,” she said. “We know abortion is invisible so we use these pictures to make abortion intolerable.”