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Actions to resist the Peterborough anti-choice bus ads

Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada

April 16, 2017

We're sharing the following list of  great suggestions for actions against the Peterborough anti-choice bus ads, compiled by Pro-choice Peterborough.

  1. Contact pro-choice people, politicians, teachers and/or agencies to express your gratitude for the work they do.
  2. Lobby Ontario government to create access zones, also known as 'bubble zones,' where anti-abortion activity is prohibited near hospitals/clinics/doctors' residences (like British Columbia's Access to Abortion Services Act (1996)).
  3. Fundraise for pro-choice initiatives (bus and bench ads, scholarships, research).  Example: Go Fund Me campaign.
  4. Make this a 2018 municipal election issue. Encourage pro-choice women to run for Council. 
  5. File a human rights complaint.
  6. Come out to the Love Team Peterborough (LTP) pro-choice rally on Saturday mornings.   Note: LTP especially like when people bring male allies, babies, and friendly dogs :) 
  7. Make an Advertising Standards complaint.  Examples of past successful complaints against anti-abortion ads (enter "abortion" in Keywords box).
  8. Help organize a Reproductive Justice conference (it would be great if youth were involved in this).
  9. Contact the unions. The labour movement has the resources to help. Examples: Peterborough's transit union (ATU 1320), Canadian Federation of Students.
  10. Tell everyone you can about how these ads impacted you: City Councillors, social media, the mayor, your neighbours, the press, coworkers....spread the word!  Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada is collecting impact statements to chronicle the impact of these ads . Please send to joyce@arcc-cdac.ca.
  11. Start a Radical Handmaids chapter in Peterborough.
  12. Ways to speak to children about abortion.
  13. Help ensure teachers are following the sex ed curriculum (prevent abortions before they happen).
  14. Create plays, paintings, music, documentaries, and street art about reproductive justice.
  15. Remember self-care. Anti-abortion protests can be incredibly triggering and traumatic.


Summary of Issue:  You can view the ad here. The City of Peterborough initially refused to run the ad, but in Feb 2016 reversed its decision due to a lawsuit threat by the anti-choice group CCBR (“Canadian Centre for Bio-ethical Reform”). Despite this, the CCBR obtained a court order forcing the city to run the ad. Meanwhile, other jurisdictions in Canada refused to run the ad and several went to court. The City of Grande Prairie emerged victorious on Dec 22, 2016, in a strong decision by the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta.

Nevertheless, the City of Peterborough was forced to run the ads because it didn't contest the court order obtained by CCBR. See our list of failures by the City that led to this.  The ads began appearing on buses April 3rd.