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West Kelowna  

Controversial billboard stays

While some find the billboard offensive and complaints have been lodged, the Kelowna Right to Life Society gets to keep its sign along Highway 97.

The pro-life billboard was put up in West Kelowna in March, and immediately met with negative feedback.

The billboard compares the killing of a puppy as “cruelty” to that of an abortion as “choice."

During the last few months, several complaints were lodged with Advertising Standards Canada. The complaints included claims the Kelowna Right to Life Society was being dishonest in calling the fetus depicted in the ad a “baby,” as well as claims it violates a section of the Advertising Code that prohibits ads that display “unacceptable depictions and portrayals” of persons or groups.

“The society responded to the complaints by pointing to provincial and government publications that also call the unborn babies," said Marlon Bartram with Kelowna Right to Life.

“Examples included pamphlets on the dangers of drinking, contracting food poisoning and smoking while pregnant. The society also pointed to several online resources through health authorities, medical sites and several others all referring to the baby in the womb as a 'baby.' They also argued that many other advertisers, including Doritos, Pampers and UCBaby have, without controversy, used the word baby to describe the unborn in their advertising campaigns.”

The society argued that while some may find the billboard offensive, “it does not directly identify nor incite displeasure or violence toward any identifiable person or group.”

In response, Advertising Standards Canada dropped the complaints and allowed the billboard to remain.

“We see this as a major victory for the pro-life movement, not only in terms of respecting freedom of expression, but also for the march toward achieving protection for the unborn,” said Bartram.

He says the billboard will remain up until at least March of next year.  

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