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Nota Bene Sept. 5, 2018

Billboards publicize lack of abortion law

By Agnieszka Ruck

A We Need A Law billboard in Halifax, N.S. The group has posted advertisements like this across the country to invite people to think twice about the status quo on abortion in Canada. (Photo submitted)

Since 1988, when the Supreme Court struck down Canada's abortion law, Canada has been in a legal vacuum - the only democracy in the world without a law regarding abortion.

That's the message political activist group We Need a Law is trying to spread with its new nation-wide billboard campaign. The initiative publicizes a single message: "Canada has no abortion laws."

"It is our hope that having the facts will cause people to consider whether they are comfortable with the status quo or not," said director Mike Schouten.

He pointed to a 2013 poll in which only 23 per cent of respondents knew abortion was allowed at any time during pregnancy, without restrictions. (65 per cent believed there were some restrictions, and 12 per cent were not sure).

"We think it's time for Canada to begin addressing the legal void by getting in line with international standards and protecting fetal interests after the first trimester."

The billboards can be seen from Victoria to Halifax through September. 

In British Columbia, four signs were installed: on Hwy. 1 in Abbotsford, at Hwy. 5 and Halston Avenue in Kamloops, on Hwy. 97 in Kelowna, and on the Patricia Bay Highway in Victoria.

The group says protestors have called their signs "misleading" and "demeaning," and learned Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada has encouraged members to complain to Advertising Standards Canada to have the signs removed.