Opinion

EDITORIAL: Exercising the same rights

A field of little white crosses, and a sign that says “Abortion stops a beating heart.”

Offensive?

According to the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, yes.

The ARCC recently sent a letter to Abbotsford mayor and council, requesting the pro-life display on private property on Sumas Way be permanently removed.

Staged by the Right-to-Life Society, the mock memorial has been  arranged for about two months every year for more than a decade.

The crosses represent the number of abortions performed in Canada each week.

It’s a stark message, to be sure.

So much so, says the ARCC, that it is unreasonably disturbing to women who may have had abortions, and/or are not Christians.

“Council has a responsibility to remain secular and unbiased,” maintains the ARCC.

From the perspective of city hall, which created a bylaw in 2000 regulating the type of signage allowed for non-profit groups, the Right-to-Life display is on private land and does not contravene any civic law.

Allowing groups to convey messages important to their causes does not automatically place civic government in a position of endorsement or support.

The property is owned by a farmer and businessman, who says “... in Canada there is the freedom to express views and opinions.”

He is quite correct.

Those who express opposition to such a display are exercising the same rights to free speech as those who put it up.

To muzzle one would be to muzzle the other.

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