The pro-life group at the centre of a controversy over a school presentation is not backing down.
Red Deer Pro-Life showed a video last month to Grade 10 Catholic students comparing abortion to the Holocaust. The video references the Auschwitz death camp and Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s “scheme by which severely disabled children could be murdered.”
“Then once the war began,” the video’s subtitles read, “this killing was extended to disabled adults as well (and then to all ‘unwanted’ persons).” Sex education advocates say the presentation also contained myths and scare tactics about abortion and is evidence that third-party groups need tighter vetting.
WATCH ABOVE: Critics are calling for more vetting and oversight after a video comparing abortion to the Holocaust was shown to Grade 10 students at a Red Deer Catholic high school. (WARNING: Graphic content)
“We think the comparison is valid,” said Joel Soodsma, board member for Red Deer Pro-Life. “We are just a little disappointed in the minister of education for calling it ‘hateful propaganda.’ We’re obviously speaking for the babies, the unborn, and I don’t think anybody in Canada hates babies — certainly not us. So why it was ‘hateful’, we don’t understand, and why it was ‘propaganda’ — if it’s not a fair comparison, then show us that, but we think it is.”
The school board said Tuesday it won’t let the group show the video again, but Red Deer Pro-Life is not banned from future presentations. Soodsma said the group does not plan to change their approach, in this or other school presentations.
“I’m not sure we’ll show the video again, but I’m certain we’ll use the comparison,” said Soodsma, who pointed out that this is the first year the group has used this video. “As far as the Red Deer Catholic school, I can understand where they don’t want a lot of backlash for what’s done in the classroom, and this is the type of issue where there’s going to be varying opinions, strong opinions.”
Education Minster David Eggen says the district is investigating.
Meanwhile, the video has drawn the ire of pro-choice groups.
Kathy Dawson, who sits on the boards of the Alberta Pro-Choice Coalition and the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, says sex education on abortion should be presented without bias.
“It’s important that it be medically accurate, and bias-free, without any agendas,” she says. “I would envision a proper sexual health education as something you might get from your doctor: where it’s professional, they give you the pros and cons, they explain things accurately and completely, without any judgement.”
Dawson also says the video’s message is vile.
“It was using a very horrific event to support Christian propaganda against human rights,” she says. “We were quite shocked but we were focused on the misuse of the memory of the Holocaust.”
(with files from Emily Mertz, Global News)