A pro-life billboard that raised the ire of pro-abortion activists shortly after being erected in West Kelowna in March of this year has withstood several complaints to Advertising Standards Canada (ASC). The billboard juxtaposes the killing of a puppy as “cruelty” with the killing of an unborn baby as “choice” and features images of a cute puppy and a baby at approximately 10-12 weeks gestation, a time when abortion is common.
Several local abortion advocates attempted to have the billboard removed using the ASC mechanism; complaining that the Kelowna Right to Life Society was being dishonest in calling the unborn child depicted in the ad a “baby.” The complainants also claimed that the ad violates the section of the Advertising Code prohibiting ads that display “unacceptable depictions and portrayals” of persons or groups.
The Society responded to the complaints by pointing to provincial and government publications that also call the unborn “babies.” Examples included pamphlets on the dangers of drinking, contracting food poisoning, and smoking while pregnant. The Society also pointed to several on-line resources through health authorities, medical sites, and several others all referring to the baby in the womb as a “baby.” They also argued that many other advertisers, including Doritos, Pampers, and UCBaby have without controversy used the word “baby” to describe the unborn in their advertising campaigns.
As far as being discriminatory, the Society argued that while some might find the billboard offensive, it does not directly identify, nor incite displeasure or violence toward, any identifiable person or group.
Kelowna Right to Life also objected to the fact that the complaints originated from their “competitors,” something that is not permitted under ASC procedures.
Keep up with the latest pro-life news and information on Twitter. Follow @LifeNewsHQ
Kelowna Right to Life Executive Director Marlon Bartram responded to the ASC’s decision to drop the complaints by saying, “we see this as a major victory for us, not only in terms of respecting freedom of expression, but also for the march toward achieving protection for the unborn. The crux of our argument is that pre-born babies, like born babies, are full persons with the inherent right to life, and that abortion is an abhorrent violation of that right. This billboard has done wonders in helping us to advance these important truths.”
Bartram says that the billboard will remain up until at least March of next year, and is encouraging supporters to help the Society keep it up even longer.