LETHBRIDGE - Ad Standards, the non-profit body responsible for self-regulating advertising in Canada, has ruled that an ad placed on bus stop benches in Lethbridge showing a fetus with the words "Pre-born babies feel pain. Say no to abortion," has contravened the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards.
The ruling, against the Lethbridge and District Prolife group was sent to lawyer Miranda Hlady May 30 after she filed a complaint against the ads.
The Standards Council is made up of volunteer members from advertisers, advertising agencies, the media and the public. A group met May 24, 2018 to consider the complaint.
The council decided the image of a well-developed and mature-looking fetus appeared to be more representative of a fetus not in its early stages of development, but at a later gestation, when abortions are typically not performed or permitted.
The ruling also indicated that the image shown was misrepresentative of fetuses when they are aborted, and that all fetuses at all stages of gestation will feel pain if the pregnancy is aborted.
Further, it stated that the preponderance of scientific evidence appears to refute the statement that all fetuses feel pain at all stages of their development, and:
"Contrary to Clause 14(c) of the Code, the advertisement demeaned and disparaged women who have had or are considering having an abortion, by implying that women who decide to terminate their pregnancy intentionally inflict pain on their unborn fetus."
The ads were removed in early April after more than 100 complaints were made to the City of Lethbridge.
Similar ads were also removed by the City of Grande Prairie.
An appeal was made by the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform in 2015, indicating it had a right to freedom of expression.
In late April, the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled that city's decision to remove the ads was reasonable, because it would have likely fear and confusion among children, and psychological harm to women.
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