Graphic flyer by-law passed but legal challenge anticipated

It took a year and a half, but London, Ont. city council has passed a by-law to protect Londoners from unintentionally viewing graphic anti-abortion flyers.

The new by-law prohibits door-to-door distribution of any image of a fetus unless it is fully concealed in an envelope or wrapped. It must also bear a warning label.

In 2020, city hall received numerous complaints after graphic anti-abortion flyers showing an aborted fetus were distributed to homes in several neighbourhoods in London.

“We heard from the community that these graphic flyers cause harm, and were asked how can we protect the greater community — not just children,” said Coun. Anna Hopkins.

Several councillors acknowledged the by-law will likely be challenged in court by the pro-life organization behind the flyers.

The organization sent a letter warning, “pro-life leaflets which convey meaning and express ideas and beliefs about the abortion issue enjoy strong Charter [of Rights & Freedoms] protection in Canada.”