WARNING: This article contains graphic detail and a link to images that may be disturbing or offensive to readers.
Fredericton residents, Laura Wheaton and Tina Marshall-Brewer, were shocked when they received a gruesome postcard in the mail earlier this week.
It’s a double-sided postcard showing a 20-week (5-month-old) aborted fetus, mangled and bloody, alongside Liberal Party candidate, Brian Gallant’s smiling face, with the caption- “A vote for Brian Gallant and the Liberals is a vote for this.”
Wheaton, a social worker at Family First Human Services Inc., said she had heard on the news anti-abortion groups were planning to send them out.
“I was very angry that this social war had come to the point of sending out offensive cards, without knowing how this will affect the people who are seeing these images,” she said.
Three pro-life organizations distributed 25,000 postcards in Fredericton and surrounding areas to attack part of Gallant’s platform in hopes to end the barriers allowing women the right to choose.
As a concerned mother, Brewer called the organization, but only reached the voice mail.
“I wanted to let them know how angry I was that they would leave inappropriate material in my mailbox, where my eight-year-old daughter could find it.”
Alex vande Bruinhorst, a spokesperson for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, said in an email their motivation is to create a major impact on votes. He claimed 70 per cent of New Brunswick residents are opposed to tax-payer funded abortions.
“When people see that abortion rips apart, decapitates and disembowels a defenceless pre-born child, they recognize abortion for the human rights violation it truly is.”
City police have received numerous calls and complaints about the flyer, but said the organizations aren’t doing anything illegal. With the election only three days away, and postcards still appearing in mailboxes all over the city, it’s difficult to assume this graphic attempt of swaying voters will work.
Wheaton said peers’ opinion, online research and topics specifically-targeting young New Brunswickers will influence their vote. She doesn’t think the post-card campaign will be as successful in swaying votes as the anti-abortion organizations hope.
“I think this tactic has the potential to sway some voters within a very small demographic, but the majority are firm in their values,” Wheaton said.
Gallant said during an election campaign of any kind, it’s normal for people to voice their opinions in order to influence voters and politicians. But he said this material crosses the line.
“It is deeply offensive, and I am very disappointed” said Gallant, accusing Premier David Alward of attacking him about this issue instead of expressing concern for the hundreds of New Brunswick residents who are offended by these flyers.
Brewer and Wheaton both agree that an organization like the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform may claim they have a right to share their view. Yet it’s no place for children to be unintentionally targeted when they get the mail for their parents, who will have to answer many questions.
“This is not a children’s issue, but one that needs to continue to be discussed among adults.”