A student at a Catholic high school in Alberta has the province on alert after revealing their class sat through an anti-abortion presentation that compared terminating pregnancies to the Holocaust.
Secretly recorded on a cell phone, the video shows a presenter from an anti-abortion rights group speaking to a religion class at École Secondaire Notre Dame, a high school in Red Deer, Alberta.
As part of the presentation, a video was shown that compares the Nazis' genocide of Jewish people and other groups to abortion, which has been fully legal across Canada since the 1980s. You can watch it here.
The student's video also shows classmates questioning the presenter from Red Deer and Area Pro Life on her view that abortion shouldn't be allowed in any scenario, including after sexual assault.
You can watch the student's recording on Global News.
The student — who has remained anonymous out of fear of retribution from the school — sent the recording to Accessing Information, Not Myths (AIM), an Alberta sexual health organization.
"I was really frustrated when we saw the video because it’s something AIM has been working on for years," said Cristina Stasia, founder and chair of AIM.
She told BuzzFeed Canada that schools often bring in these anti-abortion rights, third-party organizations with information that's "problematic and inaccurate."
"One of the things that was the most troubling was the discussion about abortion in the case of sexual assault and putting adults in a room that would give that kind of information to students," she said.
AIM brought the video to the province's education minister, Dave Eggen, who called it "hateful propaganda."
"I think that it was entirely inappropriate material to be shown in any classroom," Eggen told media, according to the ministry.
"As soon as we did see the video, we were in contact with Red Deer Catholic [school board] to express our deep concern about how inappropriate this video was," he said. The school board is now investigating, he added.
According to Eggen, the board was unaware of the video comparing abortion to the Holocaust until he contacted them, but this was far from the group's first time presenting at the school.
Damian Stewart, an 11th-grade student at the school, told BuzzFeed Canada his class received a similar presentation last year that compared abortion to school shootings.
"I do remember walking out and my whole class was just annoyed and unimpressed, and anyone I ask says the same thing," said Stewart.
He added that the presenter spoke to Notre Dame students at least six times this year.
According to Stasia, both students and teachers have complained about the presentations before, yet they keep happening. Which is why she says this can't be left in the hands of the school board.
"Now that this has finally become public and it's getting attention, there’s excitement that things are beginning to change. But this will only change with provincial oversight," she said.
"These kids are savvy enough to know they’re getting incorrect information."
Lauren Strapagiel is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto, Canada.
Contact Lauren Strapagiel at email@example.com.
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