Peggy Sattler MPP, London West

Government of Ontario

London MPPs table new legislation to ban the distribution of graphic images of fetuses

Published on March 8, 2021

LONDON – London MPPs Terence Kernaghan, Peggy Sattler and Teresa Armstrong are introducing new legislation Monday, the Viewer Discretion Act (Images of Fetuses), 2021.
The bill, co-sponsored by Kernaghan, Sattler and Armstrong, will ban the distribution of graphic images of fetuses unsolicited to homes without the use of an envelope indicating content and sender.
“In recent months, Londoners have been exposed to graphic and upsetting anti-abortion flyers. These graphic images have appeared unsolicited in our mailboxes, on street corners, and in other public places,” said Kernaghan. “We’ve heard from countless Londoners who have found these images traumatizing and unwelcome in our community.”
Sattler says these images are particularly difficult for those who have experienced pregnancy loss, and for children exposed to these images without consent.
“Nobody should be forced to see these graphic images while driving to work or coming home from school,” said Sattler. “Londoners have spoken loudly and clearly that they don’t support receiving these flyers and we’ve listened to their concerns.”
That’s why London’s MPPs will be introducing legislation Monday that would protect viewers from seeing graphic literature against their will. They were joined at a virtual press conference Monday morning by Katie Dean, founder of the Viewer Discretion Legislation Coalition, and local parent Sarah Grossi, who expressed their concerns about the impact of these disturbing images on London's women and children. 
“If passed, this legislation would require this type of literature to contain a warning label, so that young kids and other Londoners aren’t exposed to harmful imagery," said Armstrong. "We are introducing this bill on Monday, and we hope MPPs from all parties will join us to support this important legislation to protect Londoners, and families across this province.”

Katie Dean, founder of the Viewer Discretion Legislation Coalition
"The first time I received one of these pamphlets I was shocked and immediately felt targeted because I have had a termination for medical reasons. The second time, I hid in my own home. I couldn't believe someone could put this in my mailbox to try to shame me. These images are used to shame and hurt women specifically. I'm glad this bill addresses these harmful images."
Sarah Grossi, London parent
"The graphic violence of those images are forever seared into my son’s memory and nothing I can do can erase that trauma. Every time he eats ketchup, every time he goes to sleep, I cannot stop those violent pictures from intruding on his thoughts and protect him from the damage that they have caused.”
RJ Milne, London parent
“My seven year old daughter collects the mail each week as it makes her feel a little more grown up. I just happened to collect it the day we received a flyer showing these graphic anti-abortion images. If my daughter had seen it, she might have had nightmares for weeks. Something must be done to stop these groups from leaving this kind of material in our homes.”