VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Vancouver Centre MP Dr. Hedy Fry is asking why a Conservative MP from Alberta paid for what she calls anti-abortion ads on transit in Vancouver.
Fry says Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan MP Garnett Genuis paid for advertisements reading, “How can there be too many children? That is like saying there are too many flowers”, a quote attributed to Mother Theresa.
Fry says the message the ad is pushing forward is clear, trying to dictate a woman’s choice when it comes to having children.
“Who has children? Who are the ones who give birth to children? Women.”
However, Genuis says in an email that the ads are a response to a series of those displayed last month on Vancouver billboards and bus shelters encouraging couples to do their part to control overpopulation – and fight climate change – by having fewer children.
“These ads are a response to the ‘one child one planet’ ads,” Genuis adds. “They have nothing to do with abortion. MP Fry is spreading conspiracy theories again.”
The Conservative Party is funding anti-choice advertisements on public transit in Vancouver. @ErinOtoole You claim to have gotten into politics to defend the rights of Canadians. Here's a great opportunity for you to do that. Take these ads down today. #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/vohREvkSgQ
— Dr. Hedy Fry (@HedyFry) November 2, 2020
Fry, though, says the advertisements promote a narrative that women are meant to be “fruitful” and having children is a goal that women are expected to aim for.
Fry adds that the message is also “extremely insensitive” and goes against the Supreme Court of Canada that has been clear that women have control over their own bodies, adding the message the ad is advertising promotes controlling women’s reproductive rights and has no place in society.
“There are many women who would like to have to run there who cannot. There are many women who have been trying and without success. What does that say to them?” she asks.
“And then there are many women who want to limit their families or who do not wish to have children. Is that saying you’re letting everybody down when you don’t do this?”
Fry says she hasn’t received a response from the Conservative Party about what she calls “anti-choice” messaging, aside from members dismissing the claimed meaning.
— Garnett Genuis (@GarnettGenuis) November 1, 2020
Fry says she wants to see the ads removed immediately and for Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole to address the controversy.
“I’m calling for a very simple thing that says, let us respect women. Let us respect their right over their own bodies and how they deal with their bodies and what they do in terms of whether they decide to have children or not have children. And the ability for women to choose what happens to their bodies,” she says.
“We don’t go around telling men what to do with their bodies, but we seem to think that this idea that women are creatures that other people can own and determine what happens to their bodies. It’s really something that I think is almost dystopian in the fact that we’re still saying these things, and we’re still not recognizing that women are human beings.”