Monitoring Anti-Choicers

Below is a list of all of the known anti-choice (anti-abortion) organizations and agencies in and around Niagara, as well as some useful pro-choice guides and resources. Please note that this page makes reference to organizations whose activities and websites may be triggering for some, and we encourage folks to use caution if doing further research on your own.

Table of Contents

Local Anti-Choice Activity

Reporting Form

If you wish to report anti-abortion activity currently happening in the Niagara Region, has happened recently, or that you know is upcoming, please use this form.

Activity map

Calling & Emailing Guides

Filing Complaints Against Billboards & Radio Ads

Radio Ads

How to submit a complaint to Ad Standards:

  • Ensure that the ad goes against at least one of the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, use your best judgment, most anti-choice ads do. Here are some of the criteria listed in the Code that may be relevant to deciding if an anti-choice ad violates the code:
    • Accuracy: is the ad spreading false information or making misleading claims? 
    • Unacceptable depictions and portrayal: is the ad discriminatory? Does it demean or exploit anyone?
    • Scientific claims: does the ad make scientific claims that you know to be inaccurate?
    • Superstition and fears: does the ad target people’s fears in order to mislead them or convince them of something? 

  • Fill out the complaint form. What you need:
    • Name of the advertiser (the anti-choice group). 
    • Product or service advertised (for this, ARCC suggests “Misinformation about abortion”, “A message that abortion should be illegal” or “Propaganda”.)
    • Name of the radio station that the ad was heard on
    • Date heard
    • Description of the ad Description of your concerns about the ad. This can be as brief or lengthy as you want. You can find examples of complaints filed against ads on ARCC’s website. You can also contact NRJ for help writing this part.

Example of complaint submitted against a radio ad in 2021 (does not need to be this long):

This ad is extremely misleading and further stigmatizes abortion. It implicitly discourages abortions which are safe and legal, by attempting to invalidate people’s personal fears and feelings about pregnancy, implying that “holding the child will make it all worth it”. This ad violates Section 1: Accuracy and Clarity of the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards by stating that “it is the same child inside and out”. Fetuses are not children and it is misinformative to equate the two. A fetus is not viable outside of the womb and at this point of development (which most abortions are performed), the fetus in no way resembles a human being; there is no “child”. Canadian law and court cases have stated that fetuses are not human beings and do not have legal rights in Canada because that would compromise the rights of women (and gender minorities who can get pregnant). It further violates Section 1 by stating that their organization offers “support, guidance, [and] whatever you need” regarding pregnancy, despite being an explicitly anti-choice/pro-life organization. Its website URL is provided in the ad (https://hamiltonrighttolife.org/issues/abortion/) where they use inflammatory and frightening language to describe abortion methods. I’m not a doctor but the accuracy is highly dubious to say the least, and they cite very outdated sources. The ad also violates Section 14: Unacceptable Depictions or Portrayals by erasing the critical role and autonomy of pregnant people, and their deeply personal and varied reasons that inform their right to choose. I find the language demeaning and patronizing because it glosses over the real challenges and stresses of an unwanted pregnancy.

How to submit a complaint to the radio station:

  • Go to the radio station’s website and look for a “contact us” section
  • If they have a list of items to contact them regarding, choose the most appropriate. If “file a complaint” isn’t an option, choose “general inquiry”
  • In the body of the message, describe the ad that you heard and around what time and day you heard it, how you felt about it, and the action you’d like them to take. If the ad provided information that was factually incorrect (likely), express how concerning it is for a radio station to be spreading misinformation
  • What you’ll need:
    • Name of the radio station you’re listening to 
    • Time and date
    • Note down how listening to the ad made you feel
    • Note down any misinformation. If the ad directs people to a website, you can also include any misinformation or harmful information that is on that website. It is considered part of the ad because the ad is directing people to it.

Example template:

“Hello, I was listening to your radio station around [time] am/pm today and I heard an ad that made me feel [emotions, e.g.,: uncomfortable, upset, angry]. The ad was for [anti-choice group name]. I don’t want to listen to anti-choice propaganda when I’m trying to listen to the radio. It is also concerning that your radio station has decided to play ads that are spreading misinformation. For example, [example of misinformation, such as: this ad said that most people who get abortions regret it, but we know from studies done on this topic that this is not actually true at all]. Please remove this ad as soon as possible, and please let me know when you have done so. Until I get confirmation the ad has been removed, I don’t intend to listen to your radio station anymore. Thank you in advance for your help resolving this issue.”

Billboards

If you see an anti-choice billboard, you can submit a complaint to the advertising watchdog Ad Standards. This private agency administers the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards  (“the Code”). It only takes 1 complaint to initiate an investigation!

What you need:

  • Pictures of billboard
  • Location
  • Date seen
  • Description of the billboard
  • Description of our concerns about the billboard
  • Name of the advertiser (the anti-choice group). Sometimes it is not clear and you may have to go to websites to determine the true organization name.
  • You can choose whether or not to disclose your name and contact information to the advertiser but ARCC suggests not doing this in order to avoid possible anti-choice harassment.

Ensure that the ad goes against at least one of the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, use your best judgment, most anti-choice ads do. Here are some of the criteria listed in the Code that may be relevant to deciding if an anti-choice ad violates the code:

  • Section 1: Accuracy/Clarity – is the ad spreading false information or making misleading claims? 
  • Section 8: Scientific Claims – does the ad make scientific claims that you know to be inaccurate?
  • Section 11: Superstition and Fears – does the ad target people’s fears in order to mislead them or convince them of something? 
  • Section 14: Unacceptable Depictions and Portrayal – is the ad discriminatory? Does it demean or exploit anyone?

To get more specifics about the Code, you can check it out here.

ARCC has sample letters that can help you file complaints to Ad Standards and refer to specific advertising code violations in your complaint. 

Here is a template you can use:

The advertisement on this billboard violates Canadian Code of Advertising Standards, Section [#], [NAME OF SECTION] because [HOW DOES IT VIOLATE THAT SECTION?]. This is especially concerning given the large amount of misinformation being spread about pregnancy and abortion by anti-abortion groups, and the dangers this misinformation poses to the public. The [INACCURATE CLAIMS/ UNSCIENTIFIC CLAIMS/ FEAR-MONGERING/ DISCRIMINATION/ EXPLOITATION] on this advertisement is unacceptable and it must be taken down. 

For more information about how to submit a complaint, visit ARCC’s guide: Submitting Complaints Against Anti-Choice Ads. If you need help submitting your complaint, reach out to us at niagarareproductivejustice@gmail.com or over social media and we’ll be happy to assist!

Niagara Anti-Choice Organizations (to avoid)

Know of a local anti-choice group or organization that’s not listed here? Email us! niagarareproductivejustice@gmail.com.

Clarity Pregnancy Options (Elisha House) – Avoid this organization!

Previously known as Elisha House, Clarity Pregnancy Options is a Crisis Pregnancy Centre (CPC) that uses falsified scientific reports and fear-mongering to trick people experiencing unintended pregnancies into not getting abortions. They pose as a non-judgemental pregnancy resource centre, but their goal is to prevent people from accessing resources that don’t align with their anti-abortion agenda. They recently rebranded to “Clarity Pregnancy Options” and “Insight Biblical Counselling” in order to prevent the new conversion therapy bills and other legislation from affecting their funding and charitable status. They are located in Welland at 263 Division Street and 48 Burgar Street – locations are adjacent. Many of the phone numbers you see listed on billboards throughout the Niagara Region will direct you here. For more information on CPCs in Niagara and their harmful tactics, see our zine, The Truth About Crisis Pregnancy Centres in Niagara, at the top of this page.

 

UPDATE: Clarity Pregnancy Options is opening a satellite location on June 2, 2022 in St. Catharines, at 226 Merritt Street, located in the “Youth Unlimited” building. Please spread the word so people know to avoid this location!

Insight Biblical Counselling – Avoid this organization!

Previously a part of Elisha House, Insight Biblical Counselling incorporated as its own charity in late 2021 when Elisha House rebranded as Clarity Pregnancy Options. The organization claims they provide “biblical counselling services” but we strongly suggest avoiding these services as they may be linked with conversion therapy. They share a location with Clarity Pregnancy Options at 263 Division Street, Welland, ON L3B 4A3.

Unborn Images, Welland – Avoid this organization!

While this business is not overtly anti-choice, their “5D ultrasounds” are promoted by Clarity Pregnancy Options as a strategy for guilting clients into remaining pregnant. Unborn Images also is very keen on assigning gender as early as possible and promotes gender stereotypes.

Choose Life Niagara – Avoid this organization!

Also called St. Catharines Right to Life and Choose Hope Niagara, Choose Life Niagara is a registered nonprofit. They are a branch of a national organization and they are located in St. Catharines at 1 Belton Blvd. Ste. 102 off Glenridge Avenue. They were located downtown until early 2022 when they got kicked out of their previous space and relocated to the Belton Blvd unit. They are the ones who design and fund most of the anti-choice billboards across the region, but they are not the ones responsible for the anti-choice protests. They claim they never use violent or graphic imagery on signs or pamphlets and do not agree with those who do. They purposely spread unscientific misinformation about abortion in attempt to create an atmosphere of fear or guilt around the medical procedure. They also are connected to some of the Catholic high schools in the region and are closely tied with Niagara College.

Young & Pregnant in Niagara – Niagara Life Centre – Avoid this organization!

Niagara Life Centre is an anti-abortion, Christian Crisis Pregnancy Centre. The following are an extension of Niagara Life Centre: Welland’s Clarity Pregnancy Options (formerly known as Elisha House), Fort Erie’s South Niagara Life Centre, Grimsby’s Grimsby Life Centre and Niagara Falls’ Hannah House. While all these organizations have different logos and their own boards of directors, none of them offer accurate information about abortion. Niagara Life Centre is a member of the Canadian Council of Christian Charities that intentionally promotes misinformation about abortion. They also run a group called Young & Pregnant in Niagara, which finds its way onto well-intended resource lists across the region, so be careful even when receiving information from sources you trust!

South Niagara Life Centre – Avoid this organization!

Located at 143 Gilmore Road in Fort Erie, this centre is an extension of the Niagara Life Centre (see above).

Grimsby Life Centre – Avoid this organization!

Located at 18 Elm St. in Grimsby, this centre is an extension of the Niagara Life Centre (see above).

Niagara Against Abortion – Avoid this organization!

NAA is the group in Niagara that is responsible for the graphic anti-abortion protest signs, mostly in St. Catharines on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They have counterparts in nearby cities, such as London Against Abortion.

Students for Life Niagara College – Avoid this organization!

This is a student club at Niagara College that has been active in the past but hasn’t had much of a presence recently.

Brock University Badgers for Life – Avoid this organization!

This club has tried to start up a few different times over the last 5 years and usually cannot maintain its members long enough to become ratified as a club. They are supported by the National Campus Life Network (see below), but lack the leadership and follow-through to become a true campus club.

Haldimand Pregnancy Care & Family Centre – Avoid this organization!

Located at 70 Argyle St N. in Caledonia and 121 Alder Street W. in Dunnville, this is an anti-abortion Crisis Pregnancy Centre that uses fear and guilt rooted in intentional misinformation about abortion to try to convince clients that they do not know what is best for their bodies.

National Anti-Choice Organizations with a Presence in Niagara – Avoid these organizations

National Campus Life Network

NCLN is a national organization that attempts to organize anti-abortion clubs at universities throughout Canada. Their executive director is Ruth Lobo, and they have high turn-over among their other staff members who work in each region. Although they have the appearance of a well put-together organization — through the online events they host and the one-off campus events their organizers manage to put together — they lack organization and follow-through and haven’t been able to have much of an impact in the last few years.

We Need a Law

National organization advocating for restrictions on abortion access through policy. They are funded by the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA). They sometimes hold flag demonstrations at Montebello Park in St. Catharines.

Life Issues Institute

Anti-choice agency for fostering and adoption resources. They are based in the U.S. but provides materials for Niagara-based anti-abortion groups to illegally leave in people’s mailboxes. Their materials were left in Welland mailboxes in November 2020 in unmarked envelopes.

40 Days for Life

40 Days for Life defines itself as: “an internationally coordinated 40-day campaign that aims to end abortion locally through prayer and fasting, community outreach, and a peaceful all-day vigil in front of abortion businesses.” The 40 Days for Life campaign typically runs from late February to early April each year. While this group is not known to be as aggressive as other anti-choicers in Niagara, we encourage everyone to take caution when attending medical appointments – especially in Welland – during this time. Counterprotesting is an effective way to take action against this campaign, and we’re always looking for volunteers to join our Rapid Response Network. Please reach out if you’d like to join.

Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform

Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform’s main goal is for an “abortion-free Canada.” They use very graphic images on the website and in all of their materials, which have been known to end up in unmarked envelopes in mailboxes throughout Niagara. They are affiliated with Niagara Against Abortion and Hamilton Against Abortion, and they refer people to Choice42 if they are pregnant. All of these organizations intentionally promote false narratives about abortion in an effort to limit people’s bodily autonomy.

Choice42

Choice42 is a terrible Christian, anti-abortion organization founded by Laura Klassen. They create content for social media to influence people not to get abortions. One of their main goals is making people cancel abortion appointments. They identify as having the largest database of ‘pregnancy support services’ to connect people with, which are harmful organizations run by anti-choice groups. The content they post is extremely harmful and intentionally misleading.

Anti-Choice Organizations in Neighbouring Areas – Avoid these organizations!

Hamilton Right to Life

Located at 209 MacNab St. N. in Hamilton, this is an anti-choice organization that is doing its best to trick people into thinking it is actually pro-choice, so they unknowingly seek help there and can be harassed.

Birthright Hamilton

Located at 370 Main St. E., Unit M1, this is another anti-abortion agency in Hamilton.

Atwell Centre (Hamilton)

Located at 40 Wellington St. N. #102, this is a faith-based crisis pregnancy centre that attempts to appear as a medical clinic.

Project Rachel (Diocese of Hamilton)

Located at 700 King St. W., they spread lots of misinformation about “symptoms after an abortion,” lying about how common these feelings are. They tell people who have had an abortion that what they’ve done is wrong and they should repent. Super gross behaviour, definitely bad people running this place.

Halton Alive (Burlington)

This is an anti-abortion advocacy and religious organization with lots of anti-choice programming and events. They link to Choice42, a terrible anti-abortion organization (see above).

Haldimand Pregnancy Care & Family Centre (Dunnville and Caledonia)

Located at 70 Argyle St N. in Caledonia and 121 Alder Street W. in Dunnville, this is an anti-abortion Crisis Pregnancy Centre that uses fear and guilt rooted in intentional misinformation about abortion to try to convince clients that they do not know what is best for their bodies.

Beginnings (Guelph)

Faith-based organization disguising itself as a “care centre” whose real goal is to convince people not to get an abortion.

Other Related Organizations to Avoid

Covenant Christian Reformed Church (St. Catharines)

They have hosted anti-abortion related events.

Canadian Centre for Men and Families (Toronto)

They have a long history of anti-feminist, “men’s rights” activism and misogynistic talking points.

Cathedral of St. Catherine of Alexandria (St. Catharines)

They have hosted an anti-abortion “Respect Life Mass” with Bishop Gerard Bergie.

Rapid Response Network

The Rapid Response Network is a network of community members mobilizing in real time against the anti-abortion activity in the Niagara Region. If you are interested in learning more or getting involved, please email niagarareproductivejustice@gmail.com. Being involved with the RRN does not require you to counterprotest or interact with anti-choicers if you don’t want to.

Safety Guides

Niagara Reproductive Justice is not responsible for the actions of individuals.