An Okotoks mother has started a petition against graphic anti-abortion flyers being distributed in town.
Reports of the flyers have been circulating local Facebook groups, leading Amy Walton to launch a change.org page urging action to be taken.
She's hoping town council will establish regulations around these flyers, similar to a Calgary bylaw established earlier this year requiring graphic anti-abortion flyers to be concealed in an opaque envelope with a warning.
Walton, like many local parents, is concerned her children might be subjected to the graphic imagery.
"I can't imagine what an eight-year-old boy or girl, or even younger than that, my six-year-old, if he saw something like that, how long that would stay on his mind for."
According to Walton, some people in a local moms Facebook group have reported that their children have arrived home to find one of the pamphlets at their front door, with others saying pamphlets have been wedged in the siding of their house or near children's toys that have been left outside.
Aside from the imagery being traumatizing to children, it can also trigger trauma in adults.
"I had an ectopic pregnancy, which I needed an abortion for to save my life, otherwise I wouldn't be here. I also had a late-term miscarriage of twin boys at 18 weeks," says Walton. "For me, those pamphlets are a major trigger... A lot of people don't understand the nature of post-traumatic stress or anxiety. I see the posts of people saying, 'They're in our neighbourhood,' and my fight or flight response kicks in. I'm now on the lookout, I'm now aware, I'm now frightened in my own home that somebody that I don't know is going to cause me some pain."
For Walton, the subject matter and views expressed in the pamphlets aren't the issue, it's the excessive imagery used.
"Write whatever you want, say whatever you want. Free speech. I just don't understand why the images have to be visible to us or our children."
The Calgary bylaw was passed in May, and soon after, widespread complaints about the flyers began to arise in Airdrie.
Walton believes the introduction of the Calgary bylaw has prompted the group behind the flyers to move between bedroom communities around Calgary.
According to Walton, she's had correspondence from town officials that the issue will be brought before council in the Fall and possibly even sooner following recent outcry from residents.
The petition has seen over 400 signatures in two days, which she sees as a sign that many other locals want to see expedited action against the flyers.
Walton hopes to see regulations around not only the flyers but of displaying these kinds of images publicly in any way, including on signs and vehicles.