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Alberta Appeal Court rejects anti-abortion group's bid for bus ad

Last Updated Apr 25, 2018 at 5:20 pm EDT

EDMONTON – Alberta’s top court has dismissed the appeal of a group that wanted to run a graphic anti-abortion ad on transit buses in northwestern Alberta.

The Court of Appeal sided with a lower court ruling that said the City of Grande Prairie has the right to refuse the ad.

The ad proposed by the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform in 2015 included pictures of fetuses with the phrases “abortion kills children” and “end the killing.”

The group applied to have the city’s decision quashed and argued it’s right to freedom of expression, but a Court of Queen’s Bench judge dismissed the application.

The judge ruled the city’s decision was reasonable because the ad would have been likely to cause fear and confusion among children and psychological harm to women.

Three appeal judges agreed to dismiss the group’s challenge.

“No reviewable error has been shown in the decision of the reviewing judge,” said the ruling released Wednesday.

The court called the ad sufficiently disturbing.

“The respondent’s decision to reject the appellant’s advertisement was reasonable, was a proportional balancing of interests and minimally impaired the protected charter right,” it said.

A Vancouver court ruled last year that the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority had the right to refuse a similar ad from the group.

Earlier this month, the City of Lethbridge removed bus ads by a different anti-abortion organization after receiving complaints.