A crisis pregnancy centre in Chilliwack, B.C. handed out goodie bags featuring candy, replica mini fetuses, and anti-abortion messages at a parade on Saturday.
The Chilliwack Pregnancy Care Centre had a float in the Rosedale Harvest Festival parade, and passed out the bags along the route.
“I’m embarrassed of my town but not surprised. Won’t be taking my kids ever again,” wrote Lauren Mitchell, president of the parent advisory council at Rosedale Traditional Community School.
Mitchell told HuffPost Canada she wasn’t at the parade herself, but other concerned parents sent her photos of the goodie bags, which she posted on Twitter to spread awareness.
HuffPost Canada reached out to the Chilliwack Pregnancy Care Centre and Rosedale Harvest Festival but has not heard back from either group.
The festival did post on social media, saying they were surprised by “some things” that were given out.
“We understand there were some things distributed in the parade that caused unease. We want to reassure everyone that this came unawares to us as well and we hope from here on out to limit the handing out exclusively to candy!” it stated.
As someone who has suffered a miscarraige, Connie MacLeod said the bags were triggering. She didn’t attend the parade but told HuffPost Canada that if she had seen the bags in real life, she would have fallen apart in public.
“This is so incredibly insensitive to others in a similar situation,” MacLeod wrote on Facebook. “This is not kid-friendly and not appropriate for the event.”
She said giving toy fetuses — with information about how they’re developed enough to feel pain — to children at a parade was inappropriate.
“Regardless of where you stand on the topic of abortion, what parent wants to be talking with their little ones about the ‘butchering of unborn babies’? How does that spread enjoyment for the event?” MacLeod wrote.
There are no abortion clinics in the Fraser Valley, according to News 1130. The pregnancy care centre is not a medical facility. Its website says its “goal is to provide support and encouragement to pregnant women in any stage of their pregnancy through peer counselling, current information, information, and practical help.”
It also notes that it “is not a substitute for medical care or professional counselling. We do not offer, recommend, or refer for abortions or abortifacients.”
“Clients describe being harassed, bullied, and given blatantly false information.”
The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada warns that centres like the one in Chilliwack brand themselves as supporting all options for pregnant women, but in reality misinform and try to steer them away from abortions.
“Clients describe being harassed, bullied, and given blatantly false information. Their confidentiality has been violated, and mistreatment by [crisis pregnancy centres] has threatened their health,” said the group.
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