Pro-life and pro-abortion signs are appearing on Halifax Metro Transit buses and bus shelters. The pro-life organization, Signs4Life, first put up ads on bus shelters in October 2013 depicting a baby with the caption, “Luc was born today but his life began nine months ago.”
The ads promote the website signs4life.ca, which provides contact information for crisis pregnancy centres, post-abortion support, and adoption organizations. It also shows pictures of the stages of fetal development.
The ad campaign expanded to city buses in January, igniting commentary from abortion and pro-life advocates on social media. A petition started on Change.org to remove the pro-life ads garnered more than 1,900 signatures.
The South House Sexual and Gender Resource Centre (SoHo) and the Halifax Sexual Health Centre launched their own ad campaign on city buses in March. The signs state, “We are pro-choice,” in large print. In smaller print, the signs say, “To be pro-choice means to support reproductive rights for people of all genders. Pro-choice organizations provide information about abortion, adoption, and parenting. Our organizations provide many services that support a person’s right to choose whether or not to have sex, become pregnant and whether or not to have children.”
These signs also state that pro-abortion organizations give “accurate information about sexual health and reproductive rights in a confidential and non-judgmental way.” The sign also provides the address for the the Maritime Abortion Support Services website and the campaign’s own website, www.yourchoicehalifax.com.
The pro-abortion organizations raised over $4,000 through the crowdfunding web site GoFundMe.com. “The message will be focused on having a choice and the fact that South House is an organization that respects the fact that you have that choice,” commented Allison Sparling, who helped led the crowd-funding campaign. In reaction to the pro-life ads, SoHo states on its website that the organizations “are explicit about their intentions to dissuade people from having abortions on their websites but do not provide this information on their bus ads… the choices surrounding pregnancy can be difficult enough to navigate without hidden agendas.”
“It brought so much attention to our campaign,” Julie Culshaw of Signs4Life told CTV Atlantic about the so-called controversy. “We couldn’t have paid for that kind of advertising.”