Catholic high school stirs controversy over pro-life video comparing abortion to Holocaust

A Catholic high school in Alberta has come under fire for showing Grades 10 to 12 students in a mandatory religion class a pro-life video which compared abortion to the Holocaust. 

(REUTERS / Kacper Pempel)A view of former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz Birkenau during the marking the 67th anniversary of the liberation of the camp by Soviet troops and to remember the victims of the Holocaust, in Auschwitz Birkenau January 27, 2012.

Last month, a student at the Ecole Secondaire Notre Dame High School recorded a presentation by Red Deer and Area Pro Life titled "The Case Against Abortion, Personhood." The video talked about Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's scheme to kill children and adults with severe disabilities, Global News details.

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools board chair Guy Pelletier also criticized the pro-life video, saying it is not acceptable to compare anything to the Holocaust. He said the administration is already reviewing the process of allowing the use of third-party materials in classroom presentations, CBC reports.

Reacting to the pro-life presentation, Accessing Information not Myths founder and chair Dr. Cristina Stasia expressed frustration over the exaggeration of points of discussion about abortion. However, she also acknowledged the importance of talking about the issue for Catholic schools.

"Certainly for a Catholic school, abortion is an important topic for them but we don't talk about abortion by lying and exaggerating and comparing it to the Holocaust," said Dr. Stasia. "One thing that was shocking was the astounding medically inaccurate information that's being provided to students."

Stasia also applauded the student who recorded and shared the pro-life presentation. She also highlighted the need for a provincial intervention in the situation, noting that sexual health, abortion, and sexual assault are often being discussed by unqualified personnel in classrooms.

The student who complained about the pro-life presentation has opted to remain anonymous but expressed the desire to be taught only facts from an expert and not just an opinion.

Alberta education minister David Eggen said the controversial presentation should remind people to be vigilant in guarding schools against such "hateful propaganda." In a separate statement, he reiterated raised concern over the pro-life group's participation in schools and asked an explanation from the Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools for what happened.