Skip to main content

iStockphoto/Getty Images/iStockphoto

A central Alberta school division says it was unacceptable for a video shown to a high school class by a pro-life group to compare abortion to the Holocaust of the Second World War.

The video was presented last month by Red Deer and Area Pro-Life to Grade 10 students at Ecole Secondaire Notre Dame High School in the city's Catholic school system.

A statement issued by Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools says the intended outcome was to teach students respect for human life as explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Officials say they've requested the pro-life group make their presentation more appropriate for students.

It also says the screening of material from outside agencies is being improved, with the hope that presenters will be more thoroughly reviewed by school staff and administration.

Board chairman Guy Pelletier has also apologized for any issues the presentation may have caused students.

Red Deer Pro-Life is not backing down, saying the comparison between the Holocaust and abortion is valid.

"We are just a little disappointed in the minister of education for calling it `hateful propaganda,' " said board member Joel Soodsma. "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."

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. "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."

Interact with The Globe