Force, threats, demands, and coercion. It's all bullies got.
So isn't it grand when bullies get their asses handed to them?
Just before xmas, the Fetal Gore Gang got pwned. By the City of Grande Prairie, Alberta.
Here's some background.
The bullies wanted to run this ad on city buses.
Grande Prairie said: nope.
Bullies said: we'll sue.
Grande Prairie said: bring it.
Unlike the craven bunch in Peterborough who caved at this point.
Madame Justice C.S. Anderson found for the city.
“I find the City’s decision to reject this particular ad was reasonable. I find the ad is likely to cause psychological harm to women who have had an abortion or who are considering an abortion. It is also likely to cause fear and confusion among children who may not fully understand what the ad is trying to express... (This ad may cause emotional reactions that could) create a hostile and uncomfortable environment,” wrote Anderson in her decision, adding by creating such an environment it would go against the city’s objective of having a safe and welcoming transit system.
The city's lawyer, Robert McVey, had also argued that the ad constituted hate speech.
The city rejected CCBR’s advertisement because it would have promoted hatred against “an identifiable class: women who have chosen to exercise their legal right to have an abortion,” according to the judge’s written statement.(There is no online link to the judgment yet. I'll post it when it's available.) (ADDED: Judgment.)
Madam Justice Anderson did not find that the ad constitutes hate speech. While she looked favourably on the argument, she saw no need to determine whether it did or not represent hate speech. For the purpose of this case, it was enough to determine that Grande Prairie's decision to refuse the ad was a reasonable limit on free speech.
But for the sane people who oppose these lying shock tactics, that she looked favourably on the hate speech argument is exhilarating.
The judge also cited the Advertising Standards Canada Code, which the fetal gore gang has several times fallen afoul of and thumbed their noses at. While the Charter of Rights and Freedoms has a very high bar for reasonable limitations on free speech, the Code is more flexible. The judge said the city was justified in using those standards.
One more very encouraging sign. Madam Justice cited an option called "judicial notice" wherein judges may, in essence, do their own research. She went to the website on the ad and quoted a couple of the more outrageous statements (with words like "slaughter" and "evil"). She wrote: "These are strong statements that vilify women who have chosen, for their own reasons, to have an abortion; they are not merely informative and educational," as the fetal gore gang claimed. Ooh, they lie?
Of course, this is not over. Forcing transit companies to run their ads is what they *do* (when they're not endangering drivers with banner drops over highways, shoving yucky postcards in suburban mailboxes, or hanging around street corners with gigantic bloody fetus signs.)
I wrote about their detailed plan here.
Under "Conventional Advertising," the plan says: "We will develop ads that primarily emphasize the website and make use of vague messaging that intrigues the listener/viewer to check the site out."
Well, we hope people -- and future judges -- do check the site out, as Madam Justice Anderson did. And come to their own (reasonable) conclusions.
That these are lying, manipulative bullies who seek to criminalize a common medical procedure by holding ordinary people -- patients and providers alike -- up to ridicule, hatred, and perhaps violence.
As far as we know, there is still a pending situation in Hinton, AB. (Anybody know what's going on there? Let me know.)
And since it's the fetal gore gang's plan to target all of us with their bullshit, I expect there are other campaigns afoot.
For now, let's celebrate a win. And congratulate the City of Grande Prairie. I found a general email: firstname.lastname@example.org. And a Twitter account @CityofGP. In particular I'd like to congratulate Transit Manager Jason Henry.
It is always righteous to stand up to bullies.