We Need a Law going to court over pro-life ad censorship
January 2024 update: The court decided that Hamilton needed to produce better reasons than they had for denying the bus ads, and the city has decided they could not justifiably block this message and will now run the bus ads! We are thankful for this win for freedom of expression.
On November 2, an Ontario court will hear arguments in a case challenging the City of Hamilton’s censorship of this bus ad:
The ad came under scrutiny because of its four images of females at different ages and stages of life. One of these girls is a pre-born child, shown in an ultrasound image. The problem, the City of Hamilton says, is that the pre-born child is referred to as “her,” implying that she is a human being before birth.
Sex-selective abortion has been one of our key issues at We Need a Law since our beginnings in 2012. Our Defend Girls campaign brings this issue to the public, and we have had billboards and bus ads sharing this message at various times and places over the past few years.
This ad is designed to bring attention to the issue of sex-selective abortion. We know that girls are aborted because of their sex far more than boys. This is true worldwide. It is true in Canada as well. With our parent organization, ARPA Canada, WNAL is challenging the City’s censorship of this ad. You can read our written arguments to the court, as well as our follow-up reply if you are interested.
Censoring critics of sex-selective abortion suppresses public awareness and debate on an important issue. A child should never be unwanted because she is a girl. When we host flag displays or other public events that address this issue, the vast majority of people we talk with agree that sex selection is wrong. Equality needs to begin at the earliest stages of life.
October 11 marks the annual International Day of the Girl, a day to highlight the needs and challenges faced by women and girls around the world. One of those challenges begins even before we are born, thanks to sex-selective abortion. This pressing human rights and equality issue deserves debate.
We will be sure to update you on this case as more details become available.