Saturday 11 August 2018

Lawless Abortion: No, We Do Not Need a Law

We Need a Law, the astroturf wing of Dominionist group Association for Reformed Political Action*, has put up its first billboard in Dartmouth, NS.

No doubt to the group's delight, it is causing controversy.

Pattison Outdoor, which rents the space, says it has received complaints, but will not take it down unless instructed to by Ad Standards.

So, friends of truth and choice, we need to complain. Ad Standards has made this relatively easy.

Go here and read the instructions. There is a handy online form.

For this ad, I think the section of The Code that applies is 1(a) under "Accuracy and Clarity."
In assessing the truthfulness and accuracy of a message, advertising claim or representation under Clause 1 of the Code the concern is not with the intent of the sender or precise legality of the presentation. Rather the focus is on the message, claim or representation as received or perceived, i.e. the general impression conveyed by the advertisement.

(a) Advertisements must not contain, or directly or by implication make, inaccurate, deceptive or otherwise misleading claims, statements, illustrations or representations.
Section 14 "Unacceptable Depictions and Portrayals may also apply and has been successfully used against anti-choice advertising in the past.

Getting back to "Accuracy and Clarity," while technically accurate, the ad has two misleading implications:

1. That there is no regulation of abortion. This is not true. Like all other medical procedures, abortion is regulated by the practitioners, in this case the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada. Here are the guidelines.

2. That patients and providers are doing something wrong or illegal. Also not true. Abortion was decriminalized in 1988. It is a common medical procedure, fully covered by Canada's universal health insurance.

On the second point, Section 14(c) and (d) may apply.
(c) demean, denigrate or disparage one or more identifiable persons, group of persons, firms, organizations, industrial or commercial activities, professions, entities, products or services, or attempt to bring it or them into public contempt or ridicule;
(d) undermine human dignity; or display obvious indifference to, or encourage, gratuitously and without merit, conduct or attitudes that offend the standards of public decency prevailing among a significant segment of the population.

Let's do this. We Need a Law (Like a Hole in the Head) plans to put up 70 of these billboards across Canada.

Complain. Complaining works.

(Note: The online form takes a while to load. It's not loading for me at all, so I'm going to email. info @

ADDED: ARCC also has a guide to lodging complaints with Ad Standards.

*I've written about ARPA a lot. It is a political action group devoted to imposing Christian theocracy.

The mission of ARPA Canada is to educate, equip, and encourage Reformed Christians to political action and to bring a biblical perspective to our civil authorities.
They lobby the hell out of government, meddling in abortion matters, assisted dying, freedom of religion, and other shit that is none of its business.

It is not a benign influence on civic debate.