Dalhousie’s sexual and gender resource centre is fighting fire with fire—or, rather, ads with ads.
Pro-life ads from Signs for Life have recently sprouted all over Metro Halifax buses and bus shelters, reading “Luc was born today but his life began nine months ago.” Rather than petitioning to have the ads removed, South House is taking a different approach: they’re raising money to publish some ads of their own.
“Something had to come of this,” says Allison Sparling, the campaign’s coordinator. “It’s like we have this conversation every few years, you know? It’s like we play whack-a-mole with it. We have this conversation, we try to talk about it, and it turns into both sides yelling ‘freedom of speech’ and we put the conversation off for a few more years.”
South House’s goal is to give an alternative message to bus patrons, giving information and access to services the Signs For Life ads do not.
“I was disappointed by the anti-choice ads because I felt they were trying to target vulnerable people,” says Laura Ovens, women’s representative on the Dal Student Union, “and that the ads were misleading. I think we all felt that we wanted to get the message out there that there are pro-choice services and organizations available to people in Halifax.”
The campaign began on Jan. 14. In only four days, they had already raised almost $2,000 half their overall goal of $4,000. Graphic designers are volunteering to design the new ads, so the money raised will cover printing costs and publishing on Metro Transit buses and shelters.
“By giving them information and resources we can help empower individuals to make the decision that’s best for them,” said Jean Ketterling, administrative and volunteer coordinator at South House in a recent press release.
“You can’t make major life decisions based on shame, fear and misinformation.”